Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
Shows & Panels
Health premiums - Some agencies provide missing link
Monday - 11/19/2012, 2:00am EST
What's the link between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Interior Department's Office of Hearings and Appeals?
What's the bond between the Office of Personnel Management, the National Science Foundation and the Federal Reserve Board? Or the American Foreign Service Association, the Congressional Budget Office, the Justice Department and the Export-Import Bank.
Other than being paid by the same source, and serving the same government, not much!
The common link between all of the above is that they — and about 40 other agencies, departments or components — provide free access (to employees or members) to a website that helps federal workers navigate through the ongoing health insurance and benefits open season. Between now and Dec. 10, workers, retirees and, in some cases, ex-spouses must pick their 2013 health plan.
The website is Checkbook's Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees. For more than 30 years, it's advised federal and postal workers and retirees of the best-buys whether they are single, married, old or young, active or retired. Picking the best health plan is always important. But with feds about to enter their third year in the pay-raise deep freeze, getting it right is even more important.
Check with your HR office to see if your agency subscribes for you. If not, you can buy the Guide at many area book stores and drug stores ($9.95), or subscribe to the online version yourself by clicking here.
For most people the important things to look for are:
- Good catastrophic coverage. A plan that will limit your out-of-pocket costs if you are hit by a life-threatening illness, or a bus or subway.
Medical bills are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy, but with many of the
FEHBP plans available, most people are well protected in a worst-case situation.
- Make sure that your favorite doctor is part of the health plan's
network. Otherwise, you will have the choice of either paying much higher fees
office visits and treatment, or finding yourself a new doctor or doctors.
- Don't pick a health plan based on premiums alone. The lowest-premium plan may wind up costing you a lot more than you thought because of what it doesn't cover. By the same token, the most expensive one isn't necessarily the best just because it costs more.
We'll also be consulting with David Snell, director of retirement services for the National Active and Retired Federal Employees. Snell was our guest a few weeks back, and you can listen to that show anytime by clicking here.
Coming up, columns on best-buys for singles, married couples, people over and under age 55, retirees and for people (like ex-spouses) who are covered by the federal health program but have to pay the entire premium.
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
By Jack Moore
People are more likely to spend "crisp, new paper before old, dirty and crumpled bills," according to a new study, UPI reports. One of the researchers cited the "ick factor."
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Service pension surplus shrinks as Donahoe renews call for legislation
Surplus payments the Postal Service made to the Federal Employee Retirement System are much smaller than once thought. Last year, the surplus was estimated to be $11.4 billion. But because of a reduction in projected long-term interest rates, OPM estimated the surplus would drop to $2.6 billion. SPS had wanted to use those overpayments to pay down some of its debts.
Hill leaders voice new
confidence in deficit deal
Congressional leaders from both parties voiced fresh optimism Friday after meeting with newly re-elected President Barack Obama about avoiding year-end "fiscal cliff" tax increases and spending cuts that would hammer the middle class and risk plunging the economy into recession.
Beef jerky, reality
shows, beer: Coburn tells DoD to cut it all out
DoD will spend almost $68 billion on non-military goods and services over the next 10 years, said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).
Companies say upsurge in MACs
leads to duplication, added costs
The Coalition for Government Procurement has called on senior administration leaders to take more action to combat increasing contract duplication, largely from the spread of multiple-award contracts (MACs).