Feds to see Increase in Health Premiums in 2013

Nonpostal enrollees in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program will see their premiums increase an average of 3.4 percent in 2013, the Office of Personnel Management announced Thursday. Employees of the U.S. Postal Service will see an average increase in their premiums of 3.8 percent.

“While this increase is below the averages facing private sector workers, higher premiums are difficult to absorb in these tough economic times,” Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement. “Any increase is hard for federal employees given the freeze on federal pay.”

Some plans, including the Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard plan, will only see a nominal increase. Individuals enrolled in that plan will pay a mere 33 cents more per pay period in 2013 than in 2012. However, increases in other plans are higher. Individual enrollees in the Compass Rose Health plan will pay $10.08 more per pay period for self-only coverage.

Dental plan premiums also face an increase of an average of 1 percent for next year, OPM said, but average premiums for vision plans will decrease less than 1 percent in 2013. Internal Revenue Service rules will also decrease the maximum amount in health care flexible spending accounts to $2,500, down from $5,000.

According to OPM, various factors can affect health care premium rates, including an aging population, benefit changes and enrollees changing plans.

Open season will run from Nov. 12 to Dec. 10. During that time, federal employees can switch their health insurance plans.

Posted in General News

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