Retirement & Financial Planning Report

One message of a recent survey of federal retirees regarding health insurance is that they value it highly, more highly than did employees in a similar survey taken earlier.

Among retirees, 89 percent said FEHB was extremely important to them and another 10 percent called it important, compared with 78 and 12 percent among active employees. Similarly, among retirees 83 percent said the program meets their needs to a great extent and another 15 percent said it meets them to a moderate extent, compared with 63 and 33 percent, respectively among active employees.


Meanwhile, 43 percent of retirees consider the FEHB an excellent value for the money compared with just 29 percent of active employees. Another 41 percent and 49 percent, respectively, consider it a good value for the money.

Asked what features of FEHB they liked best, at the top was prescription coverage, cited by 34 percent. Said OPM: “Across the health care industry, and especially among older adults, prescription drug cost and coverage continue to be issues of great importance. The ongoing worry about the cost of prescription drugs underscores the importance of the availability of health plans that offer comprehensive and competitive prescription drug coverage.”

The next most favored features were acceptance of their insurance everywhere, by 39 percent. Also cited by more than 30 percent–respondents were allowed to choose up to three from a list of 13–were minimal out of pocket costs, coverage of needed services, and medical services. At the bottom were health and wellness programs, ease of understanding the plan, and the availability of a health reimbursement arrangement.