Shows & Panels
- Accelerate and Streamline for Better Customer Service
- Ask the CIO
- The Big Data Dilemma
- Carrying On with Continuity of Operations
- Client Virtualization Solutions
- Data Protection in a Virtual World
- Expert Voices
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal IT Challenge
- Federal Tech Talk
- Feds in the Cloud
- Health IT: A Policy Change Agent
- Improving Healthcare Outcomes through IT Policy
- IT Innovation in the New Era of Government
- Making Dollars And Sense Out of Data Center Consolidation
- Navigating the Private Cloud
- One Step to the Cloud, Two Steps Toward Innovation
- Path to FDCCI Compliance
- Take Command of Your Mobility Initiative
Shows & Panels
Couples with healthy open marriages
Wednesday - 11/30/2011, 2:00am EST
- One of you agrees to stop eating.
- You two decide to share a wardrobe.
One of you stays home at vacation time.
- You decide to be in the same family health plan rather than each going it alone with self-only coverage.
In the popular Blue Cross basic plan, for example, the 2012 self-only premium for workers and retirees will be $1,460 compared to $3,430 for family coverage. Getting two self-only plans would save more than $500 in premiums. The deal-breaker, most of the time, comes in the all-important catastrophic coverage of the plans. That's the amount you would have to pay out of pocket next year before insurance took over. In the Blue Cross plan, the limit each person in a self-only plan would have to pay out of pocket would be $5,980, whereas if they had a family plan the limit, for the entire family, would be only $7,280.
The health insurance open season ends Dec. 12th. So what's the best health plan for you? The short (and honest) answer is that it depends on several things. Your age, health, family size, even your lifestyle and hobbies (like cliff diving).
Walton Francis, editor of the Washington Consumers Checkbook Guide to Federal Health Plans says everybody should shop around. Premiums in most plans are going up modestly next year, but the government will continue to pay the lion's share (about 70 percent) of premiums for federal workers and retirees. The U.S. Postal Service pays an even greater share of employee (but not retiree) premiums.
Most people are eligible for around 20 plans and options. They range from nationwide fee-for-service plans like Blue Cross, Foreign Service, Compass Rose, GEHA, APWU, SAMBA, Mail Handlers, NALC and Rural Carriers to complicated but highly recommended Consumer Driven and High Deductible plans, offered by the APWU, Aetna, GEHA, Mail Handlers and Coventry. Some of the best bargains (and best maternity benefits) are with local HMOs like Kaiser, Aetna, CareFirst Blue Choice, Coventry and MD-IPA.
Nobody can be turned down because of age, health or preexisting conditions. If you get married, divorced or your spouse dies you can change from family to self-only coverage at any time. If you have a child, you can switch from self-only to family coverage. Also, if you are in an HMO and you move out if its coverage area you can have your own personal open season.
Members of Congress and their staffs are currently under the same health plans — and pay the same premiums — as rank-and-file feds.
Today at 10 a.m. EST , Walt Francis will be on our Your Turn radio show. We've got a batch of questions for him already, but you can send yours to me at: email@example.com or call while we are on air at 202-465-3080. The show is archived, so if you can't listen live you can catch it later.
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
By Jack Moore
A Sacramento State psychology professor can no longer require that students bring him snacks before class. The professor, who had listed the snack requirement on his syllabus for 39 years, walked out of a midterm review class because the students didn't bring snacks, according to the Sacramento Bee. He said it was a way of "encouraging the students to work collectively," the Bee reported.
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Mike's Take: When 'no' really means 'no'
Pets can be a problem in a relationship. He's a dog person, she likes cats. Or he hates animals and she can't imagine life without them. Mars, Venus, right?
House passes bill modifying FECA
The House approved bipartisan legislation reforming the Federal Employees Compensation Act Tuesday evening. The bill streamlines the claims process and expands benefits.
NASA flies high with budget, top priorities set
When a conference committee passed a 2012 budget resolution for some of the government last week, NASA ended up with a budget not far from its original request. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden talks about his agency's fiscal health and top priorities, which extend from low-earth orbit to Mars and beyond.
OPM extends Combined Federal Campaign to Dec. 31
The Combined Federal Campaign is in full swing and federal employees in the capital area have shelled out more than $27 million, so far. Helping out fundraising efforts is the Office of Personnel Management's recent announcement that the campaign has been extended through Dec. 31.