2023 FEHB Premium Increases for Federal Employees Under Blue Cross Blue Shield

2023 FEHB premiums are increasing considerably. How much more will federal employees under the nationwide Blue Cross Blue Shield programs have to pay?

The 2023 FEHB premiums have been announced, and federal employees and retirees can expect to pay more for their health insurance next year. In some cases, they will be paying considerably more.

In 2023, federal employees and retirees will be paying, on average, 8.7% more over for their portion of premiums under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. Overall, 2023 FEHB premiums are increasing by an average of 7.2% over 2022.

These are averages of course, so not all FEHB plans’ premiums will increase by this amount or increase at all.

2023 Blue Cross Blue Shield Nationwide Premium Increases

One of the more popular plans under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program is Blue Cross Blue Shield. Under the nationwide plan, there are three options: FEP Blue Focus, the Standard Options and the Basic Option.

Here is how the premium increases from 2022 to 2023 break down for the biweekly premiums for each of the three options on the nationwide plans. Note that these are the official premium figures published by OPM. I have computed the percentage increases in the 2022 and 2023 premiums in the last column.

2023 Biweekly Premium Increases – Employee’s Share

PlanEnrollment CodeEnrollment Type2022  Biweekly  – Total Premium2023  Biweekly – Total Premium% Increase
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Basic Option111Self$80.18$86.678.09%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Basic Option112Self & Family$212.09$237.9112.17%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Basic Option113Self Plus One$196.13$217.9011.10%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan FEP Blue Focus131Self$53.14$54.212.01%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan FEP Blue Focus132Self & Family$125.67$128.192.01%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan FEP Blue Focus133Self Plus One$114.25$116.542.00%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Standard Option104Self$127.47$142.4011.71%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Standard Option105Self & Family$314.11$347.8910.75%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Standard Option106Self Plus One$289.61$318.8510.10%

These are the figures for the monthly premiums:

2023 Monthly Premium Increases – Employee’s Share

Plan Enrollment CodeEnrollment Type2022 Monthly – Employee Pays2023 Monthly – Employee Pays% increase
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Basic Option111Self$173.73$187.788.09%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Basic Option112Self & Family$459.96$515.4812.07%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Basic Option113Self Plus One$424.95$472.1211.10%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan FEP Blue Focus131Self$115.15$117.462.01%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan FEP Blue Focus132Self & Family$272.29$277.752.01%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan FEP Blue Focus133Self Plus One$247.55$252.512.00%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Standard Option104Self$276.19$308.5311.71%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Standard Option105Self & Family$680.57$753.7710.76%
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan Standard Option106Self Plus One$627.49$690.8410.10%

Generally speaking, the premium increases are above the averages for the 2023 FEHB premium increases overall, and in some cases, well above the average 8.7% increase of federal employees’ share of 2023 premiums. However, federal employees under FEP Blue Focus option fared considerably better than the overall average.

Blue Cross Blue Shield FEHB Plans

According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield website, these are the basic details of each option under the Federal Employee Program (FEP):

FEP Blue Focus

  • Has a deductible
  • Must see Preferred providers
  • Out-of-pocket costs include deductible, copays, and coinsurance
  • Earn a reward for getting annual physical

Basic Option

  • Has no deductible
  • Must see Preferred providers
  • Most out-of-pocket costs are copays
  • Can get Medicare Part B premium reimbursement
  • Earn up to $170 in rewards with the Wellness Incentive Program

Standard Option

  • Has a deductible
  • Can see any provider, even outside the network
  • Out-of-pocket costs include deductible, copays, and coinsurance
  • Access to Mail Service Pharmacy Program
  • Earn up to $170 in rewards with the Wellness Incentive Program

In a press release, Blue Cross Blue Shield touted expanded benefits for some of its programs under FEHB. These included providing blood pressure monitors to pregnant women, postnatal mental health support, and coverage for certain weight loss drugs. Of course, as more options are added under health insurance plans, it drives up costs and premiums across the board, even for participants who are not using the covered services.

Summary

The federal government pays for about 70% of the total cost of insurance it is providing to its current and former employees. Federal employees and retirees only pay for about 30% of the total cost, so while health insurance costs increase each year, it is not a bad deal overall since the government covers so much of the costs.

Federal employees looking to save money on their insurance premiums can review their benefits to ensure their insurance options still meet their needs. OPM has a plan comparison tool for the FEHB plans on its website. They may also consider plans with higher deductibles and/or taking advantage of other benefits such as Flexible Spending Accounts to meet some of their medical costs.

The 2022 Federal Benefits Open Season will be held from November 14 – December 12, 2022. During this time, federal employees and retirees can enroll, change FEHB plans or plan options, change enrollment type (to Self, Self Plus One, or Self and Family), or cancel coverage. If no action is taken, your current coverage will automatically continue in 2023.

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.