A Detailed Look at 2021 FEHB Premiums

October 21, 2020 7:12 AM
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The Office of Personnel Management has provided some detailed data on the premiums that both federal employees and the federal government pay towards health insurance premiums under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) for the upcoming Open Season.

The details are provided in a document published by OPM (2020 Federal Benefits Open Season), and some of the data are available on OPM’s website as well in the insurance section.

What follows is a summary of some of the key data points from the document.

Although the amount that federal employees and retirees pay for their health insurance under FEHB may seem high, the government is actually picking up the bulk of the cost for them, and as OPM puts it, “Federal employees and annuitants enjoy the widest selection of health plan choices from which to choose in the country.” There are 276 plan choices across the entire FEHB Program for 2021.

To see the 2021 premiums, see 2021 FEHB and FEDVIP Premiums Released.

For non-Postal employees and annuitants, the federal government pays 75% of the premium for an enrollee’s particular plan choice or the maximum government contribution, whichever is less. The maximum government contribution is calculated as 72% of the weighted average of all plan premiums.

Maximum Government Contribution

The 2021 biweekly maximum government contribution for non-Postal employees and annuitants (72% of the weighted average) is:

  • $241.58 for Self Only
  • $517.46 for Self Plus One
  • $562.25 for Self and Family

The monthly maximum government contribution (72% of the weighted average) is:

  • $523.42 for Self Only
  • $1,121.16 for Self Plus One
  • $1,218.21 for Self and Family

Weighted Average Premiums

For 2021, the biweekly program-wide weighted average premiums with a government contribution are:

  • $335.53 for Self Only
  • $718.70 for Self Plus One
  • $780.90 for Self and Family

The monthly program-wide weighted average premiums with a government contribution are:

  • $726.98 for Self Only
  • $1,557.18 Self Plus One
  • $1,691.95 Self and Family

These are some data regarding the cost of 2021 FEHB premiums:

  • The overall average increase for non-Postal employees and annuitants will be 3.6%.
  • The Government contribution will increase by 3%.
  • The enrollee share will increase an average of 4.9%.
  • For Self Only, the average premium increase is 3.5%.
  • For Self Plus One, the average increase is 3.5%.
  • For Self and Family, the average increase is 3.7%.

2021 FEHB Program Rates Summary

Rate averages below are based on the prior year’s enrollment.

All Non-Postal and Annuitant Enrollees

  • Overall average premium increase: 3.6%
  • Average government share increase: 3%
  • Average enrollee share increase: 4.9%
  • 44.4% of enrollees will see an increase of 5% or less in their share of premiums
Plan OptionNon-Postal and Annuitant Enrollees Average Increase Per Biweekly Pay PeriodPostal Enrollees Average Increase Per Biweekly Pay Period
Self Only Coverage$4.67$3.89
Self Plus One$10.90$9.82
Self and Family Coverage$10.94$10.53

Recent Historical Average Premium Increases

  • 2020: 4%
  • 2019: 1.3%
  • 2018: 4%
  • 2017: 4.4%

OPM’s document also has information on new plans available for 2021, and FSAFEDS and FEHB plans that offer some type of Medicare Part B incentive for federal annuitants who are also Medicare beneficiaries.

Federal Benefits Open Season Highlights

© 2020 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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