Federal health insurance premiums will increase drug costs and doctor visits

As drug costs rise and people return to in-person doctors, federal employees and retirees should expect to pay 8.7% more, on average, for health insurance in 2023, according to the data released Friday on the federal employee health benefits program.

FEHB is the nation’s largest employer-sponsored health insurance program and covers 8 million federal employees, retirees and their family members.

“These premium increases may be similar to those expected by other large private sector employers, but they will still come as a sticker shock for federal employees,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Union of Treasury Employees. , in a press release.

Some of the insurance hike can be attributed to high prescription drug prices, costly coronavirus-related claims and the resumption of in-person healthcare that has been delayed during the pandemic, according to the NTEU.

The government pays up to 75% of the cost of employee health benefit coverage, based on a formula set by law. The OPM and federal insurers are responsible for negotiating benefits and rates for each plan year.

The government’s share of FEHB premiums will increase by 6.6%, for an overall average premium increase of 7.2%, the largest single-year increase since 2011.

For employees who enroll in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield national standard option, for example, family coverage will cost them $347.89 per paycheck every two weeks in 2023, an increase of $33.78 compared to this year.

What to know before the open registration season

The open season for federal employees to re-enroll or change their health insurance for next year begins Nov. 14 and ends Dec. 12. With 271 plan options, OPM encourages enrollees to shop around.

Federal beneficiaries can find more information about the open season, including 2023 FEHB health plan comparison tools, on its website around the first week of November.

Last year, the average total premiums of non-postal employees and retirees of the FEHB program increased by 2.4%, the second lowest increase in more than two decades.

Molly Weisner is a reporter for the Federal Times, where she covers government labor, policy and contracts. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as an editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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