OPM has announced the average premium rate for the 8.2 million people covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) will increase by 3.7% in 2014. The increase is roughly in line with the increase from last year (3.4% in 2013).
The average premium increase for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) will be under one percent for dental coverage and average premiums for vision benefits will decrease by 1.3%.
“For the third year in a row, OPM has kept the average premium increases for the FEHB Program under 4 percent, continuing our commitment to provide federal employees, annuitants and their families with the best possible coverage options,” said OPM Acting Director Elaine Kaplan. “The FEHB Program delivers competitive rates and benefits through an efficiently run program to attract and retain top-talent in the federal service.”
There are no significant benefit changes for 2014 and more plan choices: 256, up by over 10 percent from 2013.
On average, FEHB Program enrollees with self only coverage will pay $3.28 more per bi-weekly pay period, and enrollees with family coverage will pay $7.90 more. Premiums for Health Maintenance Organizations will increase an average of 6.5 percent, while Fee-for-Service plans will see an average increase of 3.1 percent.
The 2013 Open Season for health, dental, and vision insurance and flexible spending accounts will be held from November 11, 2013 to December 9, 2013. 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. FEHB Program enrollees should review the benefits and premiums for their health plan choices and decide what coverage will best fit their healthcare needs in the coming year.
For the first time, federal employees will be able to choose Blue Cross and Blue Shield for comprehensive dental coverage in addition to using it for medical and vision benefits. Also, premiums in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Government-wide Service Benefit Plan, also known as Federal Employee Program (FEP®), are increasing by 3 percent or less, lower than the 3.7% average rate hike in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) as a whole.
“We are excited to offer our health, FEP BlueVision® and FEP BlueDental® insurance options to federal employees so they can choose a comprehensive benefit package that meets all of their families’ needs,” said William A. Breskin, vice president, government programs for BCBSA. “Federal employees will find the same or greater discounts on our many products and services, making it easier and more cost effective for them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
In 2014, the biweekly cost of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Standard Option, the most popular choice for federal employees, will increase by just $1.91 for individuals and only $4.84 for families. For Basic Option, the employee share of premiums will increase by $1.89 for individual coverage and $4.43 for family coverage.
All changes will take effect on January 1, 2014.
For those who may be curious about how the 2014 FEHBP premiums compare to the cost of living adjustment (COLA) used by Social Security, the 2013 COLA was 1.7%. It is likely to be 1.5% in 2014.