FedSmith.com Users Overwhelmingly Reject Inclusion in New Health Care Program

By on August 8, 2013 in Current Events with 380 Comments

With a national debate still going on as the new national health care plan (Obamacare) is taking effect, what do federal employees think of the new system?

This week, we asked their views on being included in the new health care exchanges. There is apparently little debate among the federal workforce. Federal employees do not want to be part of the new system. Instead, they prefer to keep their current health plan based on a survey with about 2500 readers responding. Employees who are already retired have a much stronger negative reaction to being moved to a new system. Those with more than 15 years until retirement are not as unanimous in their opposition to moving into the new health care exchanges.

Congress and Congressional staff do not have a choice but won’t have to foot the bill of being in the new system. In a ruling issued this week, lawmakers and their staffs will continue to receive a federal contribution toward the health insurance that they must purchase through the health care exchanges created by President Barack Obama’s healthcare legislation.

In effect, they will be leaving the federal employee health care program and going into the new system but with the federal government still picking up most of the cost just as is done under the federal employee program. The new health care legislation included a requirement that Congressional members and their staffs would have to join the new exchanges. The author of this successful amendment, Republican Senator Charles Grassley, argued that if Obamacare plans were good enough for the American public, they were good enough for Congress. Democrats, who were eager to pass the health care legislation, which most had not read, passed the legislation with the amendment included.

As noted in an article earlier this week, legislation has been introduced to also move federal employees into the health care exchanges and out of the current federal employee health insurance program.

We asked readers their views on leaving the current federal health insurance program and joining the new exchanges. The results were definitive with 92.3% of those responding to the survey preferring to continue in the current program.

Do you think federal employees should be required to use the health insurance exchanges or continue to use the current health insurance program?
Become part of the exchanges 2.8%
Continue with the current health insurance program (FEHBP) 92.3%
Not Sure 4.9%

With regard to federal retirees, the results were even more lopsided:

Should federal employees be allowed to carry their health insurance into retirement as is currently the case or should they be required to enroll in Medicare?
Continue current program for retirees 96.1%
Require enrollment in Medicare in lieu of current program 3.9%

Different Perspective From Those Retired And Newer Federal Employees

27.4% of those responding to the survey are already retired federal employees. 41.1% indicated they would be eligible to retire in the next five years. 13.2% will not retire for more than 15 years.

Of those who are already retired, 97.6% said they should be allowed to keep their existing insurance rather than being forced into Medicare. But, among those with more than 15 years until retirement, 90.7% said they should be allowed to keep their existing insurance and 9.3% said being required to enroll in Medicare would be preferable.

Also, among those with more than 15 years until retirement, a smaller percentage preferred being able to keep their enrollment in the current federal employee health insurance program. Among this group, 87.6% preferred keeping the existing federal employee system. 7.5% said they should become part of the new health care exchanges and 5% were not sure.

Comments from Readers

Why are readers so opposed to the new health insurance program?

More than 800 submitted written comments expressing their views. Here are a few representative comments.

  • The ongoing attack and erosion of Federal employee benefits is very troubling. Federal employees take an oath of loyalty and perform much needed public services. Yet, we seem to be dispised for our service. Stop this unwarranted on Federal employees — it is unwarranted!!!
  • leave our healtcare program alone NO Obamacare!!!
  • Is it legal to change the promise made to retired federal employees to have FEHBP in retireement?
  • If the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court, along with all their staffs, are required to go under Affordable Healthcare Act, I would not object. But if it’s not good enough for the heads of the 3 branches of Government, it isn’t good enough for the rest of us.
  • Obamacare is for people who have no other option for health care. I pay good money for good health care. What kind of care do you expect from this system? I expect the worst treatment because we are held hostage to the system.
  • The only federal employees that should go into the exchanges are the ones the voted for this president. I saw through his smoke screen and mirrors.
  • The insurance exchanges are for people who generally don’t get insurance through their employers? Why is the question of placing Federal employees in the exchange even a question?
  • FEHBP is one of the best health insurance programs around. Given the chose, one would be foolish to go into anything connected with Obamacare.
  • “What is good for the Goose is good for the Gander” is what I say and since the Executive Branch stresses that this is the best thing since sliced bread; Leadership and the abidcation of leadership is an issue here. Why would the rest of American Citizens want to trust this program when Federal Employees (all members of the Executive Branch) and employees from the Legislative Branch want no part of it?????
  • I didn’t want Obamacare before it became law and I don’t want it now, either. I don’t particularly want Medicare but, since I have paid Medicare taxes for all the years I have worked, I will use it when I retire–in addition to having secondary medical insurance to help cover what Medicare doesn’t cover.
  • Obama care disgusts me! The exchanges are fraud with inept, incompetent morons set to access my personal information! Repeal NOW!!!!!
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • I do not like the idea of making ObamaCare a monopoly — one system for all Americans. However, I do agree that the White House and Congress should be required to be part of anything they pass for Americans — in this case, ObamaCare. Then, when they “live it”, they will know how to improve it.
  • The move to require federal employees to purchase health insurance through the AHCA exchanges is either due to a misunderstanding of the Act, politically motivated ill will toward public employees, or both. The exchanges have nothing to do with employees, public or private, who get health insurance through an employer group health insurance plan. The exchanges were created to help uninsured and self-employed individuals obtain health insurance at lower cost through a de facto group health plan. The exchanges were not created for employees already on group health plans. And it would be patently unfair and contrary to the intent of the law to single out public employees by removing them from their existing group plan.
  • It would be unjust to change the rules after I have spent the majority of my working life in a public service career that is not as lucrative as the private sector when the career decision to forgo private sector lucre now was in large part made in response to the promise that benefits would be much better for public service employees when they retire. I relied upon and take action in response to the promises that were made, so not living up to the promises amount to a fraud that changed my entire career path.
  • Retirees should maintain coverages they were promised when hired and had during their careers. They have planned their futures based on the benefits they were promised and for which they EARNED.
  • Our benefits become even more important as our pay fails to keep up
  • I made bets when Obamacare was passed that government employees would be the lab rats but it should be MANDATORY that ALL government personnel use the same. Politicians know it sucks or they would be in front of the line but there is no line is there. I personally do not like socialism.
  • As a federal employee, I want to keep what I have because it is a good system that works. As a taxpayer, I am disgusted with the federal system and should have to join the health care exchange like everyone else. The whole medical “issue” was in reality a non-starter, just hyped up with the media and made into an issue.
  • Should grandfather those already in the system, but change for ALL new fires eff 1 Jan 14. This has to INCLUDE Congress and their aides. Everyone or no one gets penalized by the Obamacare.
  • Obama care is designed for those who do not have insure or to force business who do not provide insurance to employees to do so. The existing plans are fine for those already enrolled. This appears to be a step towards socialized medicine, plus will eliminate competition within the medical industry.

Our thanks to those who took the time to vote in this survey and a special thanks to those readers who submitted their written comments.

© 2016 FedSmith.com. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from FedSmith.com.


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  1. Jabbo says:

    When it comes to FEHB and 0Bamacare all of a sudden no Feds voted for 0bama. Eat the cake you voted for and stfu.

  2. ibetired says:

    I’m a federal retired employee, and I worked for over 32 years. I selected my health insurance and that should not be taken away. My insurance went up, and Obama said insurance would not go up. HE Lied, we can’t trust him and he should be impeached

    • RM says:

      If every president who lied to us were impeached, no president would have lasted one term. Led by GW Bush who lied us into a war that killed over 3000 military.

  3. flashbyte says:

    My health care went up $2400 a year. I ask why they said “OBAMA CARE CASED IT!!”

  4. jack says:

    Affordasble Care Act should be put in the trash

    • marathon says:

      Dear Flashbyte,
      I totally agree with your comment. I “DO NOT” want to be part of this “OBAMACARE”. Throw the whole law in the “THRASH” can.

  5. Richard says:

    What I want to know is: When will the federal contribution for the federal employee health insurance program expire? Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a Constitutional amendment (S.J. Res.25) last week that would hold all government officials (Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches) to the same standard as the American people. When the American people discover federal workers are exempt from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) I doubt our our current FEHBP policies/costs will last another year. Again, when will the federal contribution for the federal employee health insurance program expire?

  6. DeathWatch says:

    Have been paying for the FEHB benefit for close to 25 years. I expect to keep it.

  7. j r says:

    i don’t care about cadillac plans anymore. i have a dr. in the family. the heck with the unaffordable care act!

  8. Rhonie Briley says:

    I am a veteran and I am retired from the civil service from a VA hospital. I am enrolled in the VA Healthcare system, and received a letter telling me that because I am registered in the VA Medical System, that it meets the requirements for National Healthcare. Now I know that they outlawed the “Cadillac Healthcare Plans” so everyone would have equal healthcare. Now the question I have is “why do I need to even have a healthcare plan if everyone’s healthcare has to be the same by law”? Isn’t just a waste of money for Veterans to pay for healthcare, if the Government mandates that everyone gets the same care no matter what?

  9. Don Otlin says:

    I can tell you after accessing the health care exchange for my state (NY) the preminums are quite high in comparison to what I am currently paying. I was shocked to see these outlandish amounts. I think if Congress tries to make federal empoyees give up their FEHB plan – and force employees into the “exchanges” you will see quite a fight and most likely many protests in Washington and a loud outpouring of emails to Congress and the President.

  10. Sam says:

    We wshould stay where we are!!!!! Obamacare is pure nonsense!!!!

  11. kokalis says:

    YES, why change? The whole US citizens) shd have access to the Federal plan.

  12. khazr says:

    Isn’t it already current law that medicare becomes priority for retirees at age 65 and that any private insurance, including any exchange insurance program, would become secondary? Can nyone explain how the coverage in an exchange program would differ from that provided by the FEHB, whether the employee is in active service or retired? Will coverage vary depending of the state of residence and the support that state provides to the exchange program?

  13. don chase says:

    This will be a huge expense for those of us retired and still not old enough for medicare.

  14. MisterJimmy says:

    “If you like your plan, you can keep it”. Obama turns out to be unlike the average politician. He’s an even bigger liar than average.

  15. $66281711 says:

    I am not a govt worker of ANY kind and I can not afford to pay the salaries of those “public servants” , their big fat benefits, and the other things they get. The liberal legislators don’t care a whit about us and you never hear them telling the US people that they wlll be denying themselves anything. Obama and his ilk need to also be thrown out NOW .

    • kevmeist says:

      I agree, roxanne. I was a contractor for many years working on DoD and Government programs. Now, I am a Federal employee…don’t believe all the hype about Federal employees making much more than private industry. That is just not so if you compare similar industry companies with what one performs as a Government employee. I’m on the IT side and salaries are very similar between private companies and a Federal employee if performing the same functions.

    • Itsjustmeagain1 says:

      Roxanne. When you were young, what did you want to do with your life? Complain? If you have any talent or education and envied the benefits why not join? Dumb?
      When I started in ’67 right out of High School, no one wanted to work for for the Govt. a place that paid so little. My starting wages were $2.12 an hour but I believed I could do better and did. I retired when I was 55 with 37 years of service and a GS-15. I would have stayed until I had 40 or more years but did not trust Bush. My family and I are comfortable, I made a career of it for the mission (you would not believe the challenges over the years!!) and the benefits.
      Paraphrasing the line in Search for the Holy Grail: “You choose poorly”. You are the only one to blame.

      • GlockG22shoots40s says:

        So, since you chose to milk the system for a career anyone who didn’t is dumb?

      • The Curmudgeon says:

        That’s idiotic. I’ve applied for gov’t jobs for decades but since I wasn’t a minority, Vet, disabled or a woman despite scoring over 95% on all the aptitude tests I never got hired. So you’re just another arrogant, witless civil servant. That is nothing to brag about by the way. I work for NASA as a contractor and CS employees are the laziest employees on Center. And don’t try the “bitter pill” lameass argument. I enjoy my job but I have spent decades watching the “coffee walkers” meander around the hallways mainly trying to figure out how to spend their entire budget so they can ask for MORE under the next budget. So you got lucky which does NOT make you special.

  16. Kim says:

    As a permanant part time federal employee, I simply can NOT afford the monthly health insurance premium. As a part time employee we are required to pay more out of pocket for the premium than a full time employee. I am a GS-4 part time employee, and if I were to opt for the health insurance, my portion of the premium would be approximately 874.00 per month. That is nearly my entire paycheck. So, yes if you are full time the health insurance benefit is great, but NOT for us permanant part timers.

    • kevmeist says:

      That sucks, Kim. This is the first time that I have heard the difference between PT and FT. Can you not go FT instead?

  17. kevmeist says:

    Who on earth (see some of the really STUPID comments from lazycs below) thinks that an “average” federal employee earns $130K per year? Take a look at the GS payscales. A GS 14-10 caps out at about $125K.

  18. GEZACKT says:

    So who are all these people that voted our illustrious POTUS back into office and now don’t like his policies/programs? He made no secret of the fact he intended to make OCARE the law of the land.

  19. Howard Philipson says:

    After my first comment, folks here have replied with various guidance, which I appreciate. However, just to verify our situation, I contacted our HMO today. Specifically, when Medicare ( Part B ) is our primary health insurance payer, and the HMO we belong to under the FEHBP plan is the secondary payer, the HMO pays the balance due the provider, after Medicare pays, up to the contracted reimbursement rate under the FEHBP plan ( less any co-pay due from us). It is not capped by the Medicare reimbursement rate or by the fact that we are over 65 years old. This is specifically what I have always understood the
    reimbursement system to be. I am unaware what would happen if we were all thrown into the ACA pool, but I expect we would be in the really deep end with no life preserver. Our situation may be different than folks using other plans, those that do not have Medicare part b, or folks in other parts of the Country.

    • kevmeist says:

      Howard – I’ve been reading your posts about FEHB and Medicare Part B (to use or not) with interest as I will be in the same boat in December. I retire (FERS) at the end of October and my wife hits 65 in December followed by me 11 months later. I still can’t make up my mind as to whether taking Medicare Part B is worth it or not.

      Just got off the phone with FL BCBS.

      Here is what I took away from the conversation:

      1.Take Medicare Part A and keep BCBS, don’t take Part B (this will cost us $300/month – taken out of the Government annuity)
      a.If hospitalized Medicare is primary and BCBS picks up any difference.
      b.If going to the doctor/pharmacy, we pay copays as we do now with BCBS. As I understand it, the doctor doesn’t lose out. This is what I wanted you to check out with an insurance person at the WC clinic.
      2.Take Medicare Part A, Take Medicare Part B ($220/month) and keep BCBS (this will cost an additional $220/month on top of Option 1)
      a.If hospitalized Medicare is primary and BCBS picks up any difference.
      b.If going to the doctor, Medicare is primary and BCBS picks up the difference including copays etc
      3.I got the impression that you didn’t have to take Part A (but don’t believe that this is true).

      The lady (Simone) said that unless we are going to a doctor 1+ times/week then typically Part B is not worth paying for.

      • Sam says:

        First of all Medicare A has NO charge. Medicare B will pay nothing if Your ins pays more. EX: your plan pays 80% and part B pays 70% then part B will pay nothing. Don’t give away your money for nothing.

        • kevmeist says:

          As I understand it, if Part B pays 70% and BCBS (in my case) pays 80% then BCBS would pay that 10% difference. Medicare is primary, so always pays “first” as I understand it. The real question is whether Part B is worth paying about $110/month each. I don’t know how that question can ever be answered 100%.