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FEHB Self Plus One – A Major Disappointment

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OPM announced that the 2016 FEHB premiums [2] will increase an average of 6.4 percent. Enrollees, on average, will pay $5.50 more each pay period for Self Only coverage and those with Self and Family coverage will pay $19.61 more per pay period. OPM also states in their latest press release that, “for over 95% of enrollees, the enrollee share for Self Plus One will be lower than the enrollee share for Self and Family in their current plan. However, it is possible that some plans will have higher enrollee shares for Self Plus One enrollments than for Self and Family enrollments. Therefore, enrollees are encouraged to carefully review their choices before making a change; switching to Self Plus One is voluntary.”

I can understand why the costs for the Self Plus One would be higher than the Self Only option but it is difficult to understand why any plan would charge more for a Self Plus One option over a family enrollment. Look over the plans and costs carefully before making a change.

The new premium rates [3] were released this week and I was personally very disappointed with the Self Plus One rates. There is little difference, a few dollars, from the Family rates for many plans and some plans actually charge more for the Self Plus One! Unbelievable….

The majority of retirees have Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. My wife and I are enrolled in the nationwide Blue Cross and Blue Shield Basic Service Benefit Plan. In 2016 the Basic Self and Family rates are listed at $355.76 per month compared to $348.29 for the Self Plus One. A total savings of $7.47 cents! The new Self Plus One Blue Cross and Blue Shield Basic rate is $26.62 more than we paid last year monthly for our family plan. The Nationwide NALC Value Option plan offers the Family and Self Plus one options for the exact same price and the nationwide MHBP – Standard plan charges $30.62 more for the Self Plus One plan over their Family Plan.

With little to no COLA [4] coming our way in 2016 and significant Medicare Part B premium increases next year for many, retirees suffer again for another year. Add to this the Federal reserve that has kept interest rates low for 9 years transferring the interest retirees would have made on their savings to the federal government so they can continue to borrow 40% of every dollar they spend! I wrote an article several years ago about the National Debt Crisis [5] that you may find interesting. The Medicare 2016 premium increases coming will be limited under a hold harmless clause to retires that aren’t signed up for Social Security or pay an income adjusted Medicare premium. They will bear the burden of the Obama care fiasco.

With the increased costs and little if any COLA this year it is a good time to review your current health care plans to ensure they cover the services you need at a cost you can afford. The FEHB Open Season runs from November 9 through December 14, just a month or so away.  There are many things to consider including the new Self Plus One option that does offer a little relief starting in 2016 for some plans. For those turning 65 soon, and will be paying a Part B Medicare premium [6], you may want to consider a lower cost FEHB plan. Another consideration is the services you will need in 2016, evaluate each plan carefully to ensure they cover any special services that you may require.

Even with these disappointments we still have excellent coverage. I’ll be personally reviewing a number of plans with the prospect of changing to a lower cost provider since my wife and I both pay Medicare Part B premiums.

Request a Retirement Benefits Summary & Analysis [7]. Includes projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections.

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The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and financial information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice and our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Last 5 posts by Dennis Damp