2018 FEHBP rates follow up

Here are links to the OPM 2018 rates announcement and the Federal Times, Govexec, and Federal News Radio articles about that announcement.

A reader asked the FEHBlog why the employee / annuitant contribution for self plus one can be higher than the employee / annuitant contribution for self and family coverage. The reader pointed out a particular plan.

The FEHBlog looked at the 2018 rate chart for that plan and as he expected the total premium for self and family coverage is higher than the total premium for self plus one coverage. OPM does not permit the total premium for self plus one coverage to exceed the total premium for self and family.

It’s the government contribution that can skew the employee / annuitant contribution. The maximum government contribution toward self plus family coverage ($521 bi-weekly) is $30 higher than the maximum government contribution for self plus one coverage ($491 bi-weekly). If the case of the plan in question there is less than a $30 difference between the total premiums for self plus one and self and family coverage. Hence the flip flop.

In the FEHBlog’s view, Congress should not have added a self plus one option to the FEHBP because the average family size (2.3 to 2.4 members) is small. That’s why there’s generally a small difference in total premiums for the two levels of coverage.  But no one asked the FEHBlog.

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