Our government reports that inflation is low, yet every time we turn around prices are increasing. I often ponder why our COLAs , 1.3% for 2021, are so low most years when costs for essentials are increasing.
We are used to paying more for everything these days so it shouldn’t be a surprise to everyone that our Federal Employee’s Health Benefits (FEHB)  premiums are going to rise again this year. (OPM) announced this week that for plan year 2021, the average total premiums for current non-Postal employees and retirees enrolled in plans under the FEHB Program will increase by 3.6%, last year’s increase was 4% percent.
OPM negotiated a new, seven-year contract for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) . While the majority of current FEDVIP enrollees should not experience a significant increase in premiums, enrollees are encouraged by OPM to research the various FEDVIP plans and choose the dental and vision coverage that best fits their needs.
The new rates  are now posted online. My wife and I are enrolled in the Nationwide GEHA Standard Self Plus One Plan. Their premium is increasing 3.4% from $282.05 a month to $291.92. Brochures won’t be out for a while through OPM. Brochures won’t be available for a while through OPM. However, the providers such as GEHA and Blue Cross often have the brochures available now. Here are links to their 2021 brochures:
- GEHA High & Standard PPO Option Brochure 
- FEP Blue Cross & Blue Shield Stand and Basic PPO Option Brochure 
The Nationwide Blue Cross and Blue Shield Basic Self Plus One premium increased 5.6% to $409.87 per month. Last year the monthly premium was $386.99. HMO plans have similar price changes with some reductions, for example the Pennsylvania UPMC HMO Health Plan Self Plus One UW6 enrollment code premium decreased from $421.91 per month to $412.58.
OPM’s Plan Comparison Tool  and the Consumers’ Checkbook 2021 Guide to Health Plans can be used to find the best FEHB plan for your needs. OPM’s guide will be available for 2021 plans beginning the first full week of November. The Consumers’ Checkbook Guide is available in print and online formats. Federal Retirement readers can pre-ordered their guide at Guidetohealthplans.org  and save 20% by entering promo code FEDRETIRE at checkout. The Guide will be released online no later than the first day of Open Season November 9th. Print books will be mailed the week prior to the start of Open Season.
To reduce costs many signing up for Medicare Part B consider converting their FEHB coverage to a lower cost option. The article I wrote titled A Marriage of Convenience – Medicare & FEHB  will help those approaching 65 determine what FEHB coverage will be most cost effective and provide the best coverage.
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Find answers to your questions: The best time to retire, retirement income vs expenditures, FEGLI options and costs, TSP risks and withdrawal strategies, and other relevant topics. Determine what benefits to carry into retirement and their advantages. You will also have the opportunity to set up a personal one-on-one meeting with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER.
Helpful Retirement Planning Tools
- Retirement Planning For Federal Employees & Annuitant 
- The Ultimate Retirement Planning Guide – Start Now 
- Medicare Guide 
- Medicare and FEHB Options – What Will You Do When You Turn 65?  (Part 1)
- What to Consider Before Enrolling in Medicare B  (Part 2)
- Should You Change to a Lower Cost FEHB Plan When You Sign Up for Medicare (Part 3)
- Medicare Part B and FEHB Update  (Part 4)
- How to Delay Part B Premiums 
- Budget Work Sheet 
- Social Security Guide 
Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. 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
- Plan Comparisons – Aetna MA to GEHA Standard and BCBS Basic  - November 27th, 2020
- New Medicare Advantage Options Available to Federal Retirees  - November 19th, 2020
- Changes for the 2021 FEHB Open Season and How to Save Some Serious Money  - November 12th, 2020
- 2021 FEHB Plan Selection Guide  - November 5th, 2020
- GEHA Standard to Blue Cross Blue Shield Basic Plan Comparison - 2021  - October 23rd, 2020
- 2021 COLA Announced and Annuity Projection Calculator  - October 13th, 2020
- 2021 Leave Chart & Schedule Tracker Now Available  - October 9th, 2020
- The 2020 Election - Voting This November  - October 1st, 2020
- FEDVIP Options for 2021 (New Providers Added)  - September 26th, 2020
- Required Retirement Application Forms  - September 18th, 2020
- 2021 COLA and the 2020 Health Care Open Season  - September 12th, 2020
- Health Plan Comparisons – The Good News  - September 4th, 2020