OPM has announced that the average premium for those covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program will increase by 3.4% in 2013. The increase is lower than last year’s increase of 3.8%.
The average premium increase for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) will be less than 1%.
On average, FEHB Program enrollees with self only coverage will pay $2.75 more per bi-weekly pay period, and enrollees with family coverage will pay $6.39 more. Premiums for Health Maintenance Organizations will increase an average of 5.3 percent, while Fee-for-Service plans will see an average increase of 3.0 percent.
Speaking on the 2013 rates, OPM Director John Berry said, “I am pleased that we were able to keep the average increase low again this year. It is important that we deliver competitive rates and benefits through an efficiently run program to attract and retain top-talent in the federal service. Once again, we successfully used our market leverage and previous years’ experience to negotiate the lowest possible premium rates without sacrificing benefits.”
Not everybody was pleased with the announcement, however. AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said the increase is too much and called it an effective pay cut. Cox said, “FEHBP premiums increased by an average of 7% in 2011 and 3.8% in 2012 while federal pay did not increase at all, due to the freeze. Congress and the administration have decided to turn the federal workforce into a ‘fixed income’ population that simply cannot afford another cent toward already inflated FEHBP premiums. How can they be expected to afford another increase in FEHBP rates while their salaries don’t increase – it’s the same as a pay cut.”
The 2013 Open Season for health, dental, and vision insurance and flexible spending accounts will be held from November 12, 2012 to December 10, 2012. The annual Open Season gives federal employees and retirees the opportunity to review their health plan choices and make changes for the following year. It also allows eligible employees to enroll for coverage.