OPM Standardizes FEHB Plan Options

OPM has issued a new rule which it says will increase the number of FEHB plan options and potentially help lower costs.

The Office of Personnel Management published a final rule in the Federal Register late last week in which it corrected what it called an ” asymmetry in the insurance market for Federal employees and annuitants.”

The rule was published and went into effect on April 27, 2018 and impacts the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB).

What’s Changing?

Currently, OPM regulations have varying options for the minimum standards for health plans in the FEHB. Some plans have two options and a high deductible health plan, while other plans may have three options of any type or two options and a high deductible health plan, creating an asymmetry between the potential offerings of health benefits plans.

OPM is changing the regulations so all health benefits plans are able to offer three options or two options and a high deductible health plan.

What Does This Mean for FEHB Participants?

According to OPM, federal employees who participate in the FEHB are likely to see two new plan options resulting from this change. OPM added that it expects that this regulatory change will have a positive effect on the market dynamics in the FEHB Program by potentially increasing competition between health plans and ultimately offering a greater variety of lower cost, higher quality options.

OPM said that it will ensure that any new options are distinct and meet enrollee interests and that enrollees have access to adequate information to understand the available plan options.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.