Health Insurance premiums for employees covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program will increase an overall average of 6.4 percent in 2016, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced this week.
This average increase is twice the increase registered in 2015 and higher than the increases in 2014 (3.7 percent) and 2013 (3.4 percent).
OPM attributed some of the increase to higher drug costs, which are a higher percentage of FEHB spending than private employers.
The FEHB program covers over 8 million people who can choose from among more than 250 health plans. FEHB plans cover about 85 percent of all federal employees and 90 percent of federal retirees. According to OPM, FEHB is the largest employer-sponsored health benefits program in the U.S.
This year FEHB will offer a Self Plus One enrollment type that will provide coverage for an enrollee and one designated family member (spouse or child). Enrollees can switch to this enrollment type during the open season in November.
While premiums vary with each plan, enrollee’s average bi-weekly payments next year will increase by $5.50 for self-only and by $19.61 for family plans. The federal government pays an average of 72 percent of total premium cost. Premiums for specific plans are available on the OPM website.
The Open Season for health, dental and vision, and flexible spending accounts will start on November 9, 2015 and end on December 14, 2015. Open season allows federal employees and retirees to make changes to their plans and eligible employees to enroll in the plan of their choice.