Reg Jones Expert's View

The word is out on FEHB premium rate changes for 2016. But there’s more to know than just the raw numbers. OPM has shared with agencies that might not flow through to you.

Again, these are OPM’s words, not mine, just in case you detect any editorial slant. I will just say this: where OPM speaks of premium increase percentages, they’re talking about the total, employer and enrollee share combined. Because of how that sharing formula works, the increase in the enrollee share is higher than these figures show.

The overall average FEHB premium increase for non-postal employees and annuitants will be 6.4 percent in 2016.

The average increase in the government share of premiums for 2016 will be 6.0 percent; the average enrollee share increase will be 7.4 percent. The employee share appears to be rising faster than the Government share because of enrollee selection of health plans.  The Government contribution to premiums is based on a lower average as enrollees select lower cost plans.

The Self Plus One enrollment type has been added to each plan option for the 2016 plan year.  This enrollment type was created by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.  The overall average enrollee cost for the new Self Plus One enrollment type will be $192.71 biweekly.

Changes in the enrollee share of premiums vary from plan to plan.  On average, enrollees with self only coverage will pay $5.50 more per bi-weekly pay period; enrollees with family coverage will pay $19.61 more. Those who opt for Self Plus One coverage will pay $8.92 more per pay period than they previously paid for Self and Family coverage.

In short, there are many new coverage options this open season for 2016 including 252 health plan choices and the FEHB program continues to offer comprehensive preventive services at no cost to the enrollee and a number of plans have added incentives to enrollees to participate in wellness activities.

OPM encourages FEHB enrollees to review the benefits and premiums for their health plan choices and decide what coverage will best fit their health care needs in the coming year.

Stay with us. Every week I will be outlining more info on the upcoming FEHB open season next week.

Upcoming Live FEHB Open Season Webinar

To help you fully understand all of your new benefit options and choices for the upcoming FEHB open season, FEDweek is holding a live webinar on this very topic, including the new self plus one option. For more information on this upcoming live webinar go to