Posted on Friday, 3rd May 2024 by

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OPM Released a list of conditionally approved Postal Service Health Benefit (PSHB) Program carriers for their new centralized health care system. The new PSHB program will cover almost two million USPS employee’s and their family members starting in 2025.

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Postal Reform Act

The Postal Service Reform Act (PSRA) of 2022 requires that OPM establish this new health care program, which will provide coverage for 1.9 million employees, annuitants, and their eligible family members beginning January 1, 2025.

There are 32 carriers approved for this new program, and they offer a mix of fee-for-service and health maintenance organizations, all are contingent upon successful benefits and rate negotiations.

Plans vary from nationwide to specific regions and all of them have provided health care insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. The PSHB Program will cover roughly 20 percent of the total current FEHB population.

Medicare Part B Requirement

There are two sets of rules to follow concerning Medicare Part B enrollments, one for those still employed and another for annuitants. The rules are also based on age at the time of retirement.

The requirement to sign up for Medicare Part B is limited to postal employees that retire on or after January 1, 2025, and are under 64. You WILL BE required to enroll in Medicare Part B when you become entitled for Medicare Part A (typically at age 65) to remain enrolled in a PSHB plan.

Review my article titled “FEHB Adding Medicare Part B Requirement for (PSHB) Plans” for complete details about this new requirement.




PSHB Review

The Postal Service Health Benefits (PSHB) Program is a new, separate program within the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. It will be administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which will provide health insurance to eligible Postal Service employees, Postal Service annuitants, and their eligible family members starting in 2025. PSHB Program coverage will replace Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Program coverage for these groups.

Postal Service members will be able to view coverage details and make changes during the upcoming 2024 Open Season, which is aligned with the FEHB Program. Most Postal Service employees and annuitants will be offered a 2025 PSHB plan that is equivalent to their 2024 FEHB plan option.

As stipulated in the PSRA, if an enrollee’s FEHB carrier is not participating in PSHB, that individual will be automatically enrolled in the lowest-cost, nationwide PSHB plan that is not a high-deductible health plan and does not charge an association or membership fee. All such automatic enrollments will be a PSHB plan of the same enrollment type (self only, self and family, or self plus one) as the 2024 FEHB plan.

Conditionally Approved PSHB Carrier List

Carrier Name / Plan Type

Health Maintenance Organization = HMO, Fee-for-Service = FFS

  1. Aetna: HDHP, Aetna Direct, Aetna Advantage / HMO
  2. Aetna: Open Access HMO and Aetna Saver / HMO
  3. Aetna: CDHP and Value / HMO
  4. American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Health Plan / FFS
  5. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Service Benefit Plan / FFS
  6. Capital Health Plan / HMO
  7. CareFirst BlueChoice / HMO
  8. Government Employees Health Association (GEHA) Employee Organization / FFS
  9. Government Employees Health Association (GEHA) Indemnity Benefit Plan / FFS
  10. Health Alliance Plan of Michigan / HMO
  11. HealthPartners / HMO
  12. Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) / HMO
  13. Independent Health Association, Inc. / HMO
  14. Kaiser Permanente – Colorado / HMO
  15. Kaiser Permanente – Fresno California / HMO
  16. Kaiser Permanente – Hawaii / HMO
  17. Kaiser Permanente – Northern California / HMO
  18. Kaiser Permanente – Northwest / HMO
  19. Kaiser Permanente – Southern California / HMO
  20. Kaiser Permanente – Washington Core / HMO
  21. Kaiser Permanente – Washington Options Federal / HMO
  22. Kaiser Permanente – Georgia / HMO
  23. Kaiser Permanente – Mid-Atlantic / HMO
  24. Mail Handlers Benefit Plan / Fee-for-Service
  25. Medical Mutual of Ohio / HMO
  26. National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Health Benefit Plan / FFS
  27. Rural Carrier Benefit Plan / FFS
  28. TakeCare / HMO
  29. Triple-S Salud / HMO
  30. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, Inc. – Choice Plus Primary / HMO
  31. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, Inc. – Choice Plus Primary WF / HMO
  32. UPMC Health Plan / HMO

Summary

The PSHB program begins January 1, 2025 and all current postal employees and annuitants will be required to select one of the available PSHB plans during the 2024 health care open season. The plan brochures will be available in October for your review.

As stated earlier, the requirement to sign up for Medicare Part B is limited to postal employees that retire on or after January 1, 2025, and are under 64. You WILL BE required to enroll in Medicare Part B when you become entitled for Medicare Part A (typically at age 65) to remain enrolled in a PSHB plan.

This is a significant change from the FEHB plan and most will look for lower cost PSHB plans to offset the additional costs of Medicare’s income adjusted Part B premiums.

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Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, investment, 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 information contained herein should not be considered investment advice and may not be suitable for your situation. 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.

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