USPS providing free access to health plan guide for employees and retirees

Open season for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB), as well as the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) ends on Monday December 10, 2018. Once again this year, the US Postal Service is providing free access to the Nonprofit Consumers’ Checkbook annual Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees. Current USPS employees can access the guide by visiting the web site. Retirees can go to the site. Continue reading

OPM publishes 2018 FEHB Premiums

Full Sets of Rate Charts

In addition to the biweekly and monthly premiums, you can also find the total premiums, the amount the government pays, and the change in your portion of the premium compared to last year. All FEHB plans will offer a Self Only, Self Plus One, and Self and Family enrollment types. Note: Non-Postal Rates apply to enrollees who are not employed by the U.S. Postal Service. U.S. Postal Rates apply to enrollees who are employed by the U.S. Postal Service. Continue reading

Obamacare repeal could affect health care coverage for postal workers

Donald Trump’s demand that the Republican Congress immediately repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, could have serious implications for postal workers.

Most at risk would be non-career employees not eligible for the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program. Some of those employees have received coverage under a USPS sponsored plan that was set up in order to comply with the ACA.

The 2013 press release announcing the contract, which was awarded to United Health Care, specifically noted that it was being established in order “to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”.

So will these employees actually lose their coverage? We asked the US Postal Service, and so far they haven’t responded- we’ll update this story if and when they do.

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that career postal workers and retirees won’t be unaffected by the repeal of Obamacare. Coverage for children under 26 and free coverage for preventive services and contraception are among the coverages required by the law, and could be eliminated from FEHB plans after repeal.

Beyond that. of course, there is a very real possibility of further changes in FEHB coverage and funding. FEHB is, after all, controlled by the Office of Personnel Management, which, after January 20, will be run by Donald Trump.

NALC’s Rolando corrects errors in radio show dealing with USPS retirement funding 

Walton Francis, principal author of Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees, recently appeared on Federal News Radio to discuss issues surrounding postal retirees health insurance and postal reform legislation. In the attached letter, NALC President Fred Rolando disputes several of Francis’ statements :

Dear Mr. Francis:

nalc-logo-largeOn behalf of the membership of the National Association of Letter Carriers, I write to address a number of issues raised by your recent appearance on the Mike Causey radio show on Federal News Radio (September 28, 2016). That show dealt with the proposed postal reform bill (H.R. 5714) adopted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee earlier this year – and particularly with the proposed changes in the way the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) covers postal employees and annuitants.

Although I appreciate your expertise regarding FEHBP and I acknowledge the incredible value of your guide to federal health plans during the program’s annual open season, your understanding of the proposed postal reform bill (and the NALC’s position regarding it) is seriously lacking. During the radio program you made a number of statements about these issues that are simply not accurate. Continue reading

Overall FEHB premiums to rise 4.4% in 2017- postal workers hit with 11.7% increase in employee contribution

Washington, DC – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced today that premiums for the 2017 Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program will rise by an average of 4.4 percent. The FEHB rate increase is below projected increases for the national large group market.

Government Executive reports that USPS employees and retirees will see a higher increase when lower employer contributions are factored in:

U.S. Postal Service employees will pay an average of 11.7 percent more for their premiums — or $16.32 per paycheck — a slight decrease from the 2016 bump. Self-only enrollees will pay 11.5 percent more; self-plus-one, 12.9 percent; and self-and-family, 11.6 percent. The government share will increase by just 2.8 percent.

fehbThe FEHB Open Season, which begins November 14th and runs through December 12th, will give Federal employees and retirees the opportunity to review the 2017 rates and benefits and change their health care coverage if they wish. The upcoming Open Season will also give employees and retirees the chance to select supplemental dental and/or vision coverage. In addition, Federal employees can elect to participate in a tax-deferred Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for health care and/or dependent care.

“The FEHB program is an important benefit for Federal employees to provide quality health care for themselves and their families,” said OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert. “I urge Federal employees, and annuitants to use this Open Season opportunity to carefully review their health care needs and to choose wisely among the plans and enrollment options available to them.”

OPM is dedicated to providing quality healthcare for the enrolled population.  By way of example, for several years, OPM has encouraged FEHB carriers to offer ABA benefits for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and we are pleased that all plans will offer clinically appropriate and medically necessary treatment for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2017.

Established in 1960, the FEHB Program is the largest employer-sponsored health benefits program in the United States.  On average, the Government pays about 70 percent of the health benefit premiums.  Approximately 85 percent of all Federal employees participate in the Program.

The OPM website provides a detailed breakdown on the FEHB Program premium rates and the FEDVIP rates.

Source: Open Season for Federal Health Benefits, Dental and Vision Insurance and Flexible Spending Accounts