FEHBP Plans Unlikely To Change As Much As Private Health Plans Next Year
Federal workers are not likely to see major changes to their health care plans despite adjustments being made in private plans as health reform is implemented, Government Executive reports. Many employers, according to recent surveys, are expecting increases in their health coverage costs and that is likely to be reflected in rising employee premium costs. "According to Walton Francis, author of Consumer's Checkbook Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees and Annuitants, the substantial increases in employee contributions to health premiums in the private sector indicate most large employers are putting less into health plans than the federal government. The private sector has been cutting back in recent years, but federal health plans could be a better deal next year in comparison, he said." Premiums in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program rose an average of 8.8 percent in 2010, "following a 7.9 percent increase in 2009. The two premium hikes were the largest since 2005." Rate increases for FEHBP plans won't be clear until the Office of Personnel Management publishes them this fall, and many of the plans already meet two key requirements of the new health law that go into effect in the new plan year: and end to lifetime dollar limits on benefits and a requirement to cover recommended preventive care (Long, 9/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.