Govexec.com offers a column with five reasons to consider changing your FEHB plan in the upcoming Open Season. The article notes that “A statistic that comes up during every health benefits open season is the fact that only about 5 percent of federal employees (and an even lower percentage of retirees) change their plan in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program each year.” Of course 5% of the total of FEHBP enrollment of roughly 4,000,000 federal and postal employees is around 200,000 changes which is lot of people.
House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R CA) joined by a Democrat Congressman, Willam L. Clay (D Mo.) has introduced a bill (HR 3319) that would allow all Americans to enroll in FEHB plans with eligibility for Affordable Care Act premium subsidies and cost sharing. The FEHBlog does not expect this bill to become law but it’s an interesting concept which has been previously tossed into the ring by now Secretary of State Kerry when he ran for president in 2004 and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman Tom Carper (D Del) (according to the Federal Times report).
Today, HHS issued another massive ACA rulemaking concerning 2014 benefit parameters. This rulemaking concerns, among other topics, transitional reinsurance fee. This fee will collect $25 billion from insured and self-funded health plans over the period 2014 – 2016. A Democrat proposal in the last round of continuing resolution talks was to delay this fee which is a whopping $63 per belly button for 2014. The latest rule-making includes this fascinating statement — “We also intend to propose in future rulemaking to exempt certain self-insured, self-administered plans from the requirement to make reinsurance contributions for the 2015 and 2016 benefit years.” (p. 24). The fee will drop in those years but it will still be substantial. It is unusual for employers to both self insure and self administer their health plans, however. There are employee organization sponsored FEHB plans that are self insured and self administered. The FEHBlog will keep an eye out for this proposed rule.