Health Plans: Is Anybody Happy?

Wednesday - 10/1/2008, 4:00am EDT

If you're happy in your health plan, clap your hands!

I say, if you are happy with the FEHBP clap your hands...

(Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...Sound of silence...)

Okay, I don't hear you loud and clear!

The 2009 FEHBP premiums have been announced, and sounds of joy are few and far between. The alleged "lesson" (a true story about love and the FEHBP) in Monday's column didn't amuse some folks.

Some e-mailed to say that the FEHBP uses misleading figures to show that the government pays an "average" of 72 percent of premiums, or that premiums are only going up an "average" of 8 percent. One person said, in fact, the government "only" pays 58 percent of the premium for the plan he's chosen. Another said the "average" hike is his plan is more like 12 percent. Another said that if you counted the premium increase plus a higher deductible, her costs will go up a lot more than an "average" of 8 percent a year. One e-mail (which printed out to seven pages) said the government fudges the figures each year to make it, and the FEHBP, look good. Another said Uncle Sam could better use his bargaining power (the FEHBP covers 9 million people including members of Congress) to get better drug prices. And more...

But mixed in with the unhappy e-mails about the federal health program were a handful from feds who say they think they've got a pretty good deal. Or that it the FEHBP looks good compared to most other (many fast-disappearing) company or union health plans.

Here's how they see it:

  • I know I have a good deal with life time health insurance (for now) with the government paying 70 percent of the TOTAL premium. The real question is: What about everyone else in this country?

    I have 2 grown children who don't work for the Fed and are in their 30s. If everyone worked for the Federal government, wouldn't that be kind of like Soviet Russia? One works for a big company (for now) and has health insurance. The other is going to school in Massachusetts (for now), thank God, and she and our grandson have coverage through that State's universal health system.

    Everyone in America is someone's child or parent. Sometimes it's important to think about "the other guy" because we all are someone else's "other guy". Sounds like the Good Samaritan story to me. Doug In Denver.

  • I retired from Corporate America, and am now in a new career with the Gummint, primarily for the FEHB, and to bridge my Naval Service time for yet another retirement. Our counterparts in Corporate America can only dream of such a health insurance plan as the FEHB. The future continued employment situation doesn't look bad, either. Considering today's economy and the tenuous employment possibilities in many industries, I would recommend a career in government service to any young person just hitting the job market or looking to do a career change. Regards, A Revenooer @ IRS
  • Nearly Useless Factoid

    According to Network security consultant firm Voco, workers spend 25% of work time goofing around online. But now that you've spent a few minutes goofing around reading this, you might be able use the information at work, so that makes it not goofing around. Sorry. We try.

    To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com

    Tags: FEHBP, premiums