The FEHBlog hopes that all of readers are enjoying Christmas week. The President signed the budget deal into law yesterday which means that FEHB plans will offer self only, self plus one and self and family coverage options for 2015.

The FEHBlog has read Federal News Radio and Washington Times articles about this development which seem to miss the point. For years creating a self plus option in the FEHBP was meaningless because the average family size was close to two people. In other words there would have been very little difference between the self plus one and the self and family premiums. Then along comes the Affordable Care Act which blew up the average family size by upping the child coverage age limit from 22 to 26 and removing all financial dependency requirements for child coverage under that new age limit. More adult children, more stepchildren, larger family size. So now that there is a meaningful gap between a self plus one and a self and family rate, Congress came along and implemented it.

Annuitants will be the major beneficiaries of the self plus one option. (Couples without children also could benefit but in those families both spouses often have their own employer sponsored coverage.)  Annuitant coverage is on budget which explains why Congress made this move as part of the budget deal. Federal employees who need family coverage will pay more but that’s the way our economy tends to work.

I did pick up from reading the Washington Times article that the Congressional Research Service had released a report on health benefits options available under the FEHBP. Here’s a link to that November 2013 report. The report reminds me that we recently observed the 10th anniversary of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 which created the high deductible plan with health savings account option that is available in the FEHBP.

The FEHBlog also ran across this Unitedhealth Foundation funded annual report on America’s Health Rankings. The report provides a state by state snapshot of U.S. healthcare. The report, for example, ranks each state based on obesity, diabetes, smoking and physical inactivity. The report includes a special section on seniors Very cool.

Finally, the Federal Times confirms that “Most federal employees are now officially assured of their first
across-the-board pay raise in four years following an executive order by
President Obama to implement the 1 percent increase next month.” Here’s a link to the Executive Order.