Federal Employee Health Care Costs to Rise

Health insurance premiums for federal employees and retirees will increase by an average of 2.1 percent next year, the Office of Personnel Management announced this afternoon.

Officials said they held down the rate increase, which is substantially lower than what most other workers will be asked to pay in 2008, by dipping into excess financial reserves of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which provides about $35 billion in health-care benefits annually

The federal program will offer 283 plans next year and will provide insurance coverage to about 8 million Americans: civil service and postal workers, retirees, and family members. The government picks up about 70 percent of premium costs in its role as employer.

Next year, individuals will pay an average of $1.58 more per two-week pay period, and families will pay $4.11 more biweekly, officials said

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OPM also announced the renaming of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Open Season to the Federal Benefits Open Season to reflect the broadened scope of benefits available, including the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS). The FEHBP features 283 plan choices in 2008, one less than in 2007.

The 2007 Federal Benefits Open Season will be held from Monday, November 12, 2007, through Monday, December 10, 2007.