Federal retirees give their FEHB health insurance relatively high marks in terms of care and service as compared to a national benchmark, results of a survey conducted by OPM last year show.

“Successfully navigating the health care system, receiving timely care, and accessing care easily can be challenging for adults of all ages and are critical factors in the successful delivery of quality health care to the federal annuitant population,” said a report on the survey, to which more than 44,0000 retirees responded.

On ease and timeliness of care, 78 percent said it was always easy to get the care, tests or treatment they needed, compared with 64 percent in benchmark survey, while 69 percent said they always got an appointment for a check-up or routine care as soon as they needed, compared with 61 percent. About equal percentages, 69 and 70, said they always got needed care right away. In each case, only 3-5 percent of FEHB-covered retirees said “never” or only “sometimes.”

Also, 57 percent said they were “always” or “usually” able to obtain cost information about a service or equipment from their health plan within the last year, 28 percent said they had not tried to obtain such information, and the rest said “sometimes” or “never”–which the report said “represents an area of opportunity for customer service improvement.”

Similarly, 60 percent of said their FEHB health plan’s customer service “always” or “usually” gave them the information or help they needed while another 32 percent said that was not applicable to them. Also, 87 percent said their claims processing was always or usually handled correctly and 84 percent said the same of timeliness.