Federal Employees Can Expect Increase In Their Health Care Costs
Federal employees can expect big increases in their health-care costs in 2010, according to an announcement Tuesday. The Washington Post reports: "Employees enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program will pay an average 8.8 percent more in health-care costs, according to figures released by the Office of Personnel Management. The increase averages $5.98 per paycheck for individual health-care coverage, and a $12.87 increase for employees whose plans cover families, the OPM said. The increase compares with a 7.9 percent jump in 2009 and a 2.9 percent increase in 2008, according to the OPM."
"'An 8.8 percent increase is not an increase that we feel comfortable with,' Nancy Kichak, OPM associate director for strategic human resources policy, told reporters. 'It's not one that we would like to see our enrollees bear, but unfortunately we're a victim of the market.'"
Blue Cross Blue Shield rates "will increase 15 percent for self-only coverage and 12 percent for family coverage." The wider range of benefits and the company's wide network of providers were among the reasons cited by Jena Estes, vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield's federal employee program. "The average age of program participants is 62, an older pool that requires more complex medical care. ... The American Federation of Government Employees expressed 'grave concern' at the news. 'FEHBP is getting more and more unaffordable for more people,' said Jacqueline Simon, AFGE public policy director" (Vogel, 9/30).
The Federal Times reports: "OPM said in a fact sheet released Sept. 29 that the government will continue to cover roughly 70 percent of the overall cost of health care premiums in 2010. OPM covered 69.8 percent of the premium cost in 2009" (Losey, 9/29).