Will the Self Plus One Option Save You Money Next Year?

By on November 18, 2015 in Pay & Benefits with 46 Comments

Image of a stethoscope squeezing a pile of cash

Open season for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program is now well underway, and many of our users have been seeking more information on the new Self Plus One option available in the FEHB. More specifically, they want to know if it will actually save them money over the family plan.

The Self Plus One option under the same health plan is not always less than the family option, so if you are considering switching, you would be well advised to study the costs carefully before making your decision.

Open season starts on November 9, 2015 and ends on December 14, 2015. There will also be a limited enrollment period in January 2016 that will allow some people to make the switch to self plus one if they wish to do so. (See OPM Announces New “Limited Enrollment Period” for Self Plus One Enrollment)

I put together a spreadsheet to help our users better determine whether or not the Self Plus One option will save them money under their insurance plan.

The spreadsheet uses the health insurance premiums data we have available for searching at FedsDataCenter.com to compare employee costs under the family and Self Plus One options.

Here are two examples from the spreadsheet to illustrate:

The following table shows the family and Self Plus One options under the Florida Aetna Direct plan and the costs borne by the employee for each one. I included the biweekly, monthly and annual costs to the employee in each case.

The part to really focus on, however, is the last three columns. These take the difference in price between the family and Self Plus One options. As you can see in this example, the difference between the two indicates that the Self Plus One option is less than the family option.

Plan Option Code Biweekly Monthly Annual Biweekly Difference Monthly Difference Annual Difference
Florida Aetna Direct CDHP Self & Family N62 $137.73 $298.42 $3,581.04 $17.96 $38.92 $467.04
Florida Aetna Direct CDHP Self Plus One N63 $119.77 $259.50 $3,114.00

As I noted before, however, this will not always be true. Case in point, see the table below. Note that the cost differences between the family and Self Plus One options show a negative value. A negative value indicates that the Self Plus One premium for the employee cost is HIGHER than the family option for the same plan.

Plan Option Code Biweekly Monthly Annual Biweekly Difference Monthly Difference Annual Difference
Florida Aetna Direct CDHP Self & Family F52 $192.97 $418.10 $5,017.20 -$20.73 -$44.91 -$538.92
Florida Aetna Direct CDHP Self Plus One F53 $213.70 $463.01 $5,556.12

One other interesting trend revealed by these data: on average, the Self Plus One option costs federal workers less than the family option, albeit not by much. For Postal plans, the average monthly difference in the two plan options is $24.29; for non-Postal plans, the average monthly savings is $53.53.

You can download the spreadsheet to have these data for all plans under the FEHB for both Postal and non-Postal employees. Note when you open the file there are 2 sheets, one for Postal, one for non-Postal. The plans are listed in order by name/state.

Be sure to also visit FedsDataCenter.com to search through the health, dental and vision premiums there to see what your insurance costs will be in 2016.

If you have questions about specific plans and what services they provide or what is best for you and your family, your human resources office or insurance company can give you details on the various plans you have at your disposal and what options are likely to best meet your needs.

I hope this spreadsheet and the data we have provided here will prove useful to you as you make your insurance selections for the coming year.

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

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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