2024 FEHBP Premiums Announced!

OPM Headquarters a/k/a the Theodore Roosevelt Building

From Washington, DC,

  • OPM posted 2024 premiums for FEHB plans today.
  • Here are the highlights from the related Federal News Network article:
    • “Starting in January, federal employees and retirees will pay an average of 7.7% more toward their health premiums, according to data the Office of Personnel Management released Wednesday. * * *
    • “The government will contribute 5% more toward FEHB premiums in 2024.”
    • The government contribution is 72% of the enrollment weighted average premium capped at 75% of the selected plan’s premium per 5 U.S.C. Sec. 8906.
    • OPM always emphasizes that the average increase can be lowered by enrollees selecting lower-priced plans during the Open Season, which runs from November 13 to December 11, 2023.
    • This is the last Open Season before the Postal Service Health Service Health Benefits Program launches on January 1, 2025/
    • The surprising number to the FEHBlog is the following:
      • “FEHB participants will see a total of 159 plan options in 2024, offered across 69 health carriers. That’s far fewer than this year’s total of 271 plan options.
      • “The roughly 41% decrease in plan options is mainly due to the exit of health carrier Humana from the FEHB program. Humana is exiting the program over the next two years.”
    • OPM also posted 2024 FEDVIP premiums today. Per Federal News Network, “Premiums will rise for FEDVIP dental plans by 1.4% on average, while vision plans will go up by 1.1%, OPM said.”
    • Here are links to the Govexec and Federal Times articles on this OPM announcement.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services provided a readout from HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra’s meeting with national health insurance leaders about the current Covid vaccine campaign.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports
    • “House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) rebuffed a bipartisan short-term funding bill from the Senate in favor of a House Republican plan driven by conservatives, as dim prospects for a deal raised the likelihood of a partial government shutdown starting this weekend.
    • “Many lawmakers now anticipate that Congress will fail to fund the government past Sept. 30, a lapse that will partially close federal agencies and temporarily withhold pay for federal workers and active duty-military personnel.”

From the public health front,

  • Here is a link to the National Cancer Institute’s latest bulletin of research highlights.
  • The National Institutes of Health informs us about its decision to fund
    • “a first-of-its-kind community-led research program to study ways to address the underlying structural factors within communities that affect health, such as access to safe spaces, healthy food, employment opportunities, transportation, and quality health care. Through the NIH Common Fund Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS) program, NIH made 26 awards to community organizations and a coordinating center, totaling approximately $171 million over five years, pending the availability of funds. Through these awards, ComPASS will enable research into sustainable solutions that promote health equity to create lasting change in communities across the nation.”

From the U.S. healthcare business front,

  • MedCity News tells us,
    • “Yet another retailer is making moves in healthcare. This time it’s Costco, which announced Monday that it is partnering with virtual health marketplace Sesameto provide Costco members with discount pricing for medical care. But its move is a little different from other retailers like Walgreens and CVS Health, one expert said.
    • “Sesame’s platform provides access to thousands of independent clinicians across all 50 states. Through the partnership, Costco members will have access to $29 per virtual primary care visit and $79 per virtual mental health therapy visit. They’ll also have access to health checkups — which include a standard lab panel and a virtual follow-up consultation — for $72. In addition, they’ll receive 10% off on other Sesame services, including in-person care. Sesame’s usual prices (for those accessing the company outside of Costco) vary, but a primary care visit can often be around $45, said Michael Botta, co-founder and president of Sesame.
    • “Sesame does not accept insurance, so all of the services are offered via cash pay, meaning the partnership will mostly benefit patients who are uninsured or enrolled in high-deductible health plans.”
  • Fierce Healthcare points out,
    • Amazon announced this week that it would invest up to $4 billion in artificial intelligence company Anthropic as the AI arms race heats up.
    • The two companies are forming a strategic collaboration to advance generative AI, and the startup selected AWS as its primary cloud provider. Along with the hefty investment, Amazon also took minority ownership in the two-year-old start-up.
  • and
    • “As new primary care models, including retail health clinics, continue to scale, the national supply of clinical providers will become even more constrained. For health systems, hospitals and medical groups, competition for the shrinking pool of nurses and doctors will intensify, according to a new analysis.
    • “Patients have more choices than before with the increasing supply of new entrants like CVS, Amazon and Walmart, and this is also leading to care becoming more fragmented and disintermediated from the traditional care journey, said Sanjula Jain, Ph.D., chief research officer and senior vice president of market strategy at healthcare analytics company Trilliant Health.
    • “Patient panel sizes for new primary care entrants—like Walgreens’ VillageMD, CVS’ Oak Street Health and Amazon’s One Medical —average 584 patients per provider, which is far lower than the current patient-to-provider ratio of 944. These ratios suggest that the U.S. would need an additional 218,000 primary care providers to meet the needs of every American under the new entrant primary care model, according to Trilliant Health’s “2023 Trends Shaping the Health Economy” report.”
  • Per Healthcare Dive,
    • “Centene is laying off 2,000 employees — a little over 3% of its workforce — as the health insurer struggles with headwinds from Medicaid redeterminations and Medicare Advantage star ratings.
    • “The layoffs were confirmed to Healthcare Dive by a company spokesperson. Centene has recently sold off assets, including AI platform Apixio and UK