OPM has proposed rules to address what it called an anomaly in FEHB rules, with the intent of expanding choice available to enrollees. Under a Federal Register notice, all plans could offer three options or two options plus a high deductible health plan. That currently is the rule in HMO plans but for service plans may offer only two options plus a high deductible plan.

Widening the choice “will give enrollees additional options when considering which health plan is best suited for them, for example, using a variety of variables such as premium, co-pay, and deductible costs, provider networks, and referral and pre-authorization policies. Since all health plans must compete annually for enrollees, adding additional options could create an incentive for plans to keep premiums as low as possible to attract enrollees,” OPM said.

Carriers would not be required to offer a new option, however.