Contrarian Thursday

The FEHBlog noticed two articles about the FEHBP — one concerns the self plus one option and the other concerns that Postal reform bill’s FEHB provisions. The FEHBlog’s role is to share information about the FEHBP so he is posting links to the articles even though his does not fully agree with the conclusions in either article.

With respect to self plus one, before this year, the average FEHBP self and family premium was about 2.4 times the average self only premium. If the FEHBlog were king, he would not have added the self plus one option because it had to be squeezed in.  Contrast the FEHBP with FEDVIP which always has had self plus one.  FEDVIP has annual benefit maximums for each individual. In contrast FEHBP has a maximum out of pocket limit for self only and other than self only which once met relieves the individual of in-network cost sharing until the end of that year. In contrast to dental insurance, there is a substantial financial risk associated with providing health insurance coverage.  In sum the FEHBlog never expected the FEHBP self plus one to be two times self only.  There were some outliers for 2016 but give it time for bumps to smooth out somewhat.

With respect to the Postal Service reform article, the Postal Service wants to obtain the full benefit of the Medicare taxes paid for its employees. For that reason, the Postal Service has been pressing for fully FEHBP integration with Medicare.  That’s reasonable particularly in view of the retiree healthcare pre-funding burden that Congress has placed on the Postal Service. The author, who is a recognized FEHBP expert, nevertheless makes some points worth discussing.

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