2023 FEHB Premiums to Increase by 8.7%

OPM has released the 2023 FEHB and FEDVIP premiums.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has released the 2023 FEHB premiums for the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB) and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

The average increase for the portion of 2023 FEHB premiums paid by federal employees and retirees will increase by 8.7%. In 2022, it was 3.8%.

The total average increase for the 2023 FEHB premiums will be 7.2% next year. In 2022, the overall average premium increase was 2.4%.

Under FEDVIP, the overall average premium increase for dental plans will be 0.21%, and the overall average premium for vision plans will actually decrease by 0.41%.

The premium increase is not a huge surprise given that inflation in 2022 has been increasing rapidly, often at double-digit rates. According to the last inflation update from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), inflation has risen 8.3% over the last 12 months. It was 1.2% just two years ago.

While 8.3% is bad enough, it is much higher in some categories. At home food prices are up over 13% and gasoline prices are up almost 26% in the same time period according to BLS data.

In other words, an overall average 2023 FEHB premium increase of only 7.2% is probably good news given the current state of the American economy.

OPM said that during the pandemic, there was a historically low use of elective benefits under FEHB which hold the premiums to an average increase of just 2.8% over the last four years. However, now that life has returned to more normal circumstances, health insurance costs have resumed their typical fast upward trend.

2023 FEHB Premiums

HMO (Regional Plans with Specific Service Areas)

FFS (Fee-for-Service/Nationwide Plans)

Average 2023 FEHB Premium Increases

Government Contributions

Local PlansNational PlansTotal
 Self +15.4%6.9%6.8%

Enrollee Contributions

Local PlansNational PlansTotal
 Self +14.3%9.6%9.2%

Total Premiums

Local PlansNational PlansTotal
 Self +15.1%7.8%7.5%

What About the 2023 COLA and 2023 Federal Pay Raise?

FedSmith readers often want to know how premium increases for their health benefits will compare to their COLA (for federal retirees) or pay raise (for current federal employees) amounts.

Current federal employees are likely to get a 4.6% pay raise in 2023. This became all but certain when President Biden issued his alternative pay plan letter for a 2023 federal pay raise. However, this will not be 100% finalized until he issues an executive order finalizing the 2023 federal pay raise. This usually occurs sometime in December. FedSmith will provide all of the details as soon as the 2023 pay raise is finalized.

The 2023 COLA for federal retirees has not yet been announced, but it will be released in mid-October when the latest inflation data become available. FedSmith will be publishing an article with the 2023 COLA amount as soon as it is available. Based on the latest inflation data, it is looking like the 2023 COLA could come in around 8-9% according to at least one estimate.

Also, it is important for readers to remember that the pay raise and the COLA are not the same thing. The cost of living adjustment (COLA) only applies to federal retirees, whereas the pay raise applies to current federal employees. Both are calculated differently as well. Many people often get the two confused based on comments and questions we receive which is understandable given their complexity.

When is the Federal Benefits Open Season?

Federal Benefits Open Season begins November 14 and ends at 11:59 PM EST on December 12, 2022. The annual Open Season gives federal employees, annuitants, and other eligible individuals the opportunity to review their FEHB and FEDVIP plan options, make changes, and enroll for the upcoming benefit year that begins January 1, 2023. Federal employees may use Open Season to elect to make pre-tax contributions to health care and/or dependent care flexible spending accounts under the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS).

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.