Fedweek

The FEHB will offer a new nationwide plan design in 2020, filling the long-vacant slot reserved in the program for an “indemnity benefit plan,” OPM has announced in conjunction with the selected provider, Government Employees Health Association.

The announcement said that GEHA, which currently offers a nationwide fee-for-service plan in the FEHB with standard and high options plus a high-deductible plan, will offer two options in the new plan, without providing further details.

In an indemnity benefit plan, an enrollee may choose any health care provider but may have to pay a portion of the charge and, if it exceeds “usual and customary” rates, the difference. Other plans in the FEHB program hold premium costs down by restricting the choice of providers to those with whom they have agreements; enrollees who go outside that list are responsible for additional costs.

The last provider of such a plan withdrew from the program in 1989 and since then OPM has invited carriers to propose such a plan in order to widen the choice of designs.

Terms and premium rates of FEHB plans typically are announced each September in advance of the annual open season for selecting coverage for the following calendar year. This year the open season will run November 11-December 9.

Read more about the Federal Employees Health Benefits – FEHB program at ask.FEDweek.com