TGIF

Mark the tape. On October 9, 2014, the FEHBlog noted that an error in the Postal employee contribution chart that significantly overstated 2015 premium increases. Yesterday, Govexec.com caught up with the FEHBlog in this article.

[Postal Service] Bargaining-unit employees will pay an average of just 1 percent more
toward their insurance premiums, according to a USPS spokeswoman, while
non-bargaining workers will typically see a 3 percent increase. The
overall average premium increase will be 3.4 percent.

That;s lower than the average increase for civil service employees. As a side note, the Federal Times reports today that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe will be retiring on February 1, 2015. USPS Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan will be his successor.

Earlier this week, OPM announced that it will be increasing the health care flexible spending account limit from $2500 to $2550 for 2015.

Also this month, OPM submitted a couple of proposed FEHBP rules to the Office of Management and Budget for its final review before those rule officially are published in the Federal Register

AGENCY: OPM RIN: 3206-AN08
TITLE: Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Self Plus One Enrollment Type [which takes effect in 2016]
STAGE: Proposed Rule ECONOMICALLY SIGNIFICANT: No
RECEIVED DATE: 11/05/2014 LEGAL DEADLINE: None

AGENCY: OPM RIN: 3206-AN07
TITLE: Federal Employees Health Benefits Program: Enrollment Options Following the Termination of a Plan or Plan Option
STAGE: Proposed Rule ECONOMICALLY SIGNIFICANT: No
RECEIVED DATE: 11/06/2014 LEGAL DEADLINE: None

The FEHBlog still does not find on reginfo.gov an anticipated proposed HHS rule implementing the Affordable Care Acts’ anti-discrimination in coverage rule (PHSA § 1557). Nevertheless HHS’s Office for Civil Rights is accepting consumer complaints under that law. Recently, according to the New York Times, health insurer Cigna  has “agreed to reduce the out-of-pocket costs that patients in Florida must pay for H.I.V. drugs [in Cigna’s health insurance marketplaces plans beginning in 2015], settling a [Section 1557] complaint filed by advocacy groups, who said the drug pricing system in the state’s health care plans was discriminatory.

Finally, the actuarial consulting firm Aon Hewitt released a survey of U.S. employers concluding that health care plan costs will continue on an upward trend in 2015. No surprise there.

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