Browsing: FEHBP

OPM hopes to add six new insurers to FEHBP

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The Office of Personnel Management is now negotiating with six health care insurance carriers to add them to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, director of health care and insurance John O’Brien said Thursday. In his keynote speech to the FEHB Carrier Conference, O’Brien said OPM added four new insurance providers last year. O’Brien also touted OPM’s success at keeping premium increases below 4 percent for the last two years. But he also noted that even small premium increases bite at a time when  federal pay scales are frozen. “Our low premium growth translates to roughly an additional $400 that…

Last chance to sign up for FEHBP

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Have you signed up for your health, dental and vision insurance for next year? If not, better act fast — today is the final day of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program’s open season. The open season — your only window of opportunity to choose your health coverage — began Nov. 12 and ends Dec. 10. So speak now or forever hold your … health care coverage that may not meet your needs in 2013.

Report: White House to extend health care to firefighters

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The Denver Post today reported that the White House has decided to allow seasonal federal firefighters to purchase the same health insurance as other federal employees, almost a month after one firefighter’s online petition for benefits went viral. Most federal employees get health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. But more than 8,000 seasonal federal firefighters aren’t eligible for FEHBP because they usually work less than six months each year. U.S. Forest Service firefighter John Lauer started an online petition in late May after his friend and fellow firefighter’s son was born prematurely. Because Lauer’s friend had no…

Firefighter's petition for health benefits goes viral

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An online petition to extend federal health care benefits to seasonal wildland firefighters is spreading like … well … wildfire. John Lauer, a temporary firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, and thousands of his colleagues aren’t eligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan because they only work for the government six months out of each year. But those six months are extremely busy — Lauer and other firefighters usually work 16-hour shifts each day — and dangerous. And when medical misfortune strikes a firefighter’s family, it can be devastating. Lauer said his godson Rudy — the son of a…

OPM's Berry: Justice Dept. opinion ties my hands on gay spouses' health benefits

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Last week we reported that even though lesbian federal employee Karen Golinski won health coverage for her wife — courtesy of a February court ruling — the Office of Personnel Management is still instructing federal agencies to deny the same coverage to all other gay and lesbian feds’ spouses. Today I asked OPM Director John Berry how his agency can legally extend Federal Employees Health Benefits Program benefits to only one couple, and treat thousands more differently. He said, basically, that the Justice Department’s legal opinion on the Golinski ruling has tied OPM’s hands: As someone who’s openly gay and…

OPM: FEHBP must cover lesbian fed's wife, but no other same-sex spouses

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Karen Golinski, a lesbian federal employee, won a major court victory in February when a federal judge ruled that the government had to extend health benefits to her same-sex wife. But other gay and lesbian feds won’t be able to benefit from Golinski’s victory at this time. The Office of Personnel Management in March ordered Blue Cross Blue Shield to cover Golinski’s wife, Amy Cunninghis. But today, OPM sent a notice out on its listserv that said the Golinski ruling does not apply to anyone else. “OPM has been directed by the Department of Justice to continue applying the Defense…

2011 FEHBP rates: What do you think?

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The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program premiums will go up 7.2 percent on average next year, the Office of Personnel Management said last week. For the most popular federal plan — Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard — self-only premiums are going up 6.9 percent and self-and-family plans are going up 7.6 percent. Also, six health care plans are dropping out of FEHBP: Louisiana’s Vantage Health Plans; Nevada’s Pacificare of Nevada; New Jersey’s AmeriHealth HMO; New York’s Community Blue; Rhode Island and Massachussetts’ BlueCHiP Coordinated Health Plan; and the multistate UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, which included a high-deductible health plan option and…

Health care reform, FEHBP and you

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The Office of Personnel Management this afternoon released the latest Benefits Administration Letter detailing how health care reform is going to affect federal employees. One of the bigger changes affecting Federal Employees Health Benefits Program enrollees is the extension of coverage for adult children of feds. Currently, only unmarried dependent children younger than 22 are eligible for coverage. But the health care changes will expand coverage to adult children up to age 26, as well as removing residency and dependency requirements for coverage. And there’s a few other firsts for adult children (younger than 26, of course): Married adult children of feds…

Kaiser: Employees' share of health care costs rising

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The Kaiser Family Foundation today released a sobering report about the state of health care costs in America. Employees are paying on average $4,000 per year for their share of family health care coverage this year. That’s 14 percent, or $482, more than they paid last year. That far outpaces the overall 3 percent increase in family health premiums, meaning families are increasingly shouldering the burden of health care costs. Overall, average annual family health care premium costs have increased by 114 percent since 2000, from $6,438 to $13,770. But over that time, workers’ shares have increased by 147 percent,…

FEHBP open season dates announced

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The Office of Personnel Management just released a letter that said this year’s open season for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program will run from Monday, Nov. 8 through Monday, Dec. 13. Federal employees will be able to select their health, dental and vision insurance plans and enroll in a Flexible Spending Account between those dates. Anyone already enrolled in a health, dental or vision plan will stay enrolled in their current plan unless they choose to change or cancel it. But Flexible Spending Accounts don’t carry over from one year to another — enrollees must set up an account…

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