The Office of Personnel Management announced today that the share federal employees and retirees pay towards their health insurance premiums next year will increase by an average of 5.6%.
According to OPM, the government’s share of premiums under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) will go up by an average of 3.2% next year. The federal government will cover an average of 70% of the total cost for an employee’s health insurance costs. Premiums overall will rise 4.0% on average next year.
By way of comparison, FEHB premiums rose on average by 1.5% in 2019; in 2018, they went up an average of 6.1%. OPM said that while the 2020 increase is higher than the historically low increase seen in 2019, the increase is comparable to average increases from the past 5 years.
So why was last year’s increase in premiums so low as compared to other years? OPM said it is due to Congress waiving the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Providers Fee (2018 H.R 195).
The Providers Fee is an excise tax on many health insurers. This year the fee was not waived, which has an effect on the premium rate increase. OPM estimated that this change resulted in an increase of 2% – 2.2% to premiums overall.
All of the 2020 FEHB premiums are available on OPM’s website.
Under the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), the overall average premium for dental plans will increase by 5.6%, and the overall average premium for vision plans will increase by 1.5%.
2019 Open Season
This year’s Open Season runs from Monday, November 11 – Monday, December 9, 2019. During this period, federal employees have the opportunity to enroll, change plans or plan options, change enrollment type, or cancel enrollment for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). It is also the opportunity to re-enroll or newly enroll in the Federal Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS) Program.