The Office of Personnel Management says that it is not comfortable with the insurance premium increases for next year but that "unfortunately, we’re a victim of the market."
Regardless of the reason, health insurance premiums are going up next year–an average of 8.8 percent more although some plans will have increases that are quite a bit higher.
There are also more benefits written into some of the plans.
For example, The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Government-wide Service Benefit Plan will waive co-pays on annual physical exams for Standard and Basic Option adult members who complete either their online Blue Health Assessments at www.fepblue.org, or a print version, as part of the 2010 benefits package.
The company is also adding a "Jump 4 Health" program for children and a new Standard Option benefit that includes waiving co-pays for members who switch from certain brand-name drugs to generic prescriptions purchased in retail stores.
The Blue Cross Standard Option has also decreased the non-preferred professional mental health and substance abuse coinsurance from 40 percent to 35 percent and removed day and lifetime limits.
Of course, many people do not use these additional services even though the premium provides the service. One observation on some of the health insurance options is that there are more options added, at an extra cost, and that all subscribers have to pay for regardless of whether they are useful to an individual.
Here is your chance to send in your comment on the federal health plan for next year. Will the increased cost impact your selection of a health plan; do you think OPM has done a good job in its oversight of the program; would you consider an option to have an option for catastrophic health coverage only; and do you think the federal plan offers sufficient choices?