Fedweek

The enrollee share of FEHB premiums will rise 3.8 percent on average for 2022 while premiums in the FEDVIP vision-dental insurance program will rise by just under 1 percent on average.

As always there will substantial variation within the FEHB’s overall average, with higher increases in some plans and the costs in some others essentially flat or decreasing a bit.

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For the largest FEHB plan, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Basic, biweekly enrollee rates will be $80.18 for self-only, $212.29 for self and family, and $196.13 for self-plus-one. Those are increases of $1.58, $11.02 and $6.96 biweekly, respectively. For retirees, who pay on a monthly basis, that will be $173.73, $459.96 and $424.95, respectively, up $3.42 $23.88 and $15.08.

The open season for changing existing plans or levels or types of coverage—or, for active employees but not retirees, to enroll—will be November 8-December 13. Similar policies apply to the FEDVIP program except that unlike in the FEHB, retirees may elect coverage even if they are not already enrolled.

While the government pays about 70 percent of the total cost of FEHB premiums, FEDVIP premiums are at the enrollee’s sole cost. There will be 275 plans in the former, down by one, while the number of carriers in the latter will remain the same.

“OPM asked FEHB carriers to focus on COVID-19, mental health, and substance use disorder service in response to the opioid epidemic,” OPM said in a press release that otherwise provided little detail of coverage terms. Specifics are to be released ahead of the open season.

In both FEHB and FEDVIP, an existing enrollment will continue next year unless changed. That is the most common outcome, with only single-digit percentages typically changing plans annually.

That is not the case with the flexible spending account program; those who wish to have a dependent care and/or health care account in 2022 must make a new election during the open season. Maximums are $5,000 for dependent care accounts and $2,750 for health care accounts; the latter figure may rise slightly for 2022 under a potential inflation adjustment announcement that is yet to come.

Unspent 2021 money in either type of account can be carried forward into 2022 without limit, under exceptions to normal policies enacted earlier this year. Normally unspent dependent care money must be used within 10 weeks of the new year and only $550 of unspent health care money can be carried into the new year. To be eligible under any of those policies, the individual must have that kind of account for the second year.

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