Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Connected Government
- Consolidating Mission-critical Systems
- Constituent Servicing
- The Data Privacy Imperative: Safeguarding Sensitive Data
- Eliminating the Pitfalls: Steps to Virtualization in Government
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- Government Cloud Brokerage: Who, What, When, Where, Why?
- Government Mobility
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mobile Device Management
- The Modern Federal Threat Landscape
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- Understanding the Intersection of Customer Service and Security in the Cloud
Shows & Panels
Bankruptcy insurance on sale now
Tuesday - 11/12/2013, 2:00am EST
Although the government makes shopping for health insurance easy, pays the lion's share of the premiums and, in many cases, permits people to shop at work, most do nothing. Nothing.
While many people complain about the FEHBP's premiums and coverage, few ever change plans even though the government gives them an extended open enrollment period each year. This year the open enrollment period runs from Nov. 11 through Dec. 9.
Premiums for employees and retirees will rise an "average" of 4.4 percent next year. That's only a couple of bucks per pay period. And the government will still pay about 70 percent of that average.
But with dozens of plans, and then options within those plans, that average means little if your plan is going to increase premiums by $30.48 per pay period (the SAMBA high option plan). Also, there are plans that are actually reducing premiums next year. Plans like the Rural Carriers Plan, Mail Handlers standard, or the Foreign Service benefit plan.
Most workers and definitely most federal retirees do nothing during Open Season. They may not like their plan. They may not like its premiums. Or benefits. But they still stick with it even though there are probably several alternatives as good (or better) than their current plan that pay more and/or cost less.
Shopping gets easier each year. A growing number of federal agencies now subscribe (for you) to the online version of Consumers' Checkbook Guide to Federal Health Plans. Its author, Walton Francis, literally wrote the book on federal health insurance.
Checkbook's system is easy to follow. Francis has done the homework, looking at premiums, benefit changes (if any), with ratings for singles, couples, families with kids, retirees with and without Medicare, and even people (like ex-spouses) who must pay the full premium.
The Checkbook guide shows what premiums will be for each plan in 2014. Then it shows your total costs (premiums and out-of-pocket) based on how little or how often you or a family members will likely use the plan.
Rule No. 1 in shopping for health plan insurance is to get it. Period.
Purchase one of the FEHBP plans even if you are a young, super-healthy, regular exerciser who eats lots of kale. Healthy habits notwithstanding, you can still fall down the stairs or be in an auto accident. Or have a surprise stroke. Anytime and at any age.
If you are uninsured, medical bills are the primary cause of bankruptcy. If money is an issue, get one of the lowest-cost FEHBP plans. But get it. Also, the Affordable Care Act/Obamcare requires people to have insurance or pay a penalty.
Tomorrow at 10 a.m., insurance expert Walton Francis will be guest on our Your Turn radio show.
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
Compiled by Jack Moore
Uttering "huh?" when you haven't understood something a friend says naturally occurs in at least 10 languages across the globe, including English, Dutch, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and the Australian Aboriginal language of Murrinh-patha.
(Source: Improbable Research)
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Pay freeze, sequestration take bite out of employee satisfaction
Frustrations over federal pay, budget cuts and uncertain agency funding have weakened federal employee satisfaction, according to the Office of Personnel Management's Federal Employee Viewpoint survey released Friday. For the second year in a row, overall employee satisfaction scores fell, dipping below 60 percent this year.
Top 3 Tips for Open Season
Today's the day: Open Season, the time when federal employees and retirees can comb through more than 250 health insurance plans on the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program to choose or change coverage, kicks off today and runs through Dec. 9. Find some key pieces of information for the current Open Season and links to more information. Plus, benefits experts offer their three most important tips for Open Season.
Fed groups: Pay and
benefits should be off the table in budget talks
A coalition of more than two dozen federal-employee unions and advocacy groups is calling on budget negotiators to come up with a way to undo the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts that are poised to slash agency spending by billions more this year. But following three years of a pay freeze and the recent 16-day government shutdown, the groups are equally adamant that changes to federal employees' pay and benefits should be off the table.