SUMMARY: Today, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program’s premium rates would increase an average 7.2 percent in 2023, with an average increase for employees of 8.7 percent.
Open season for federal employees to re-enroll or change their health insurance for next year starts November 14 and goes through December 12. While the overall average increase in rates for federal employees and annuitants will be 7.2 percent in 2023, federal employees and retirees on average will pay 8.7 percent more for health insurance next year. Because the increase is an average, exact increases will depend on the type of plan enrollees choose.
This is the largest increase of FEHB premiums federal employees have seen since 2011. According to OPM, this sizable increase is comparable with the increases in plans at other large employers for 2023 and is driven largely by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The influx of health claims, in addition to providing coverage for COVID-19 tests and vaccines, has resulted in nationwide increases in health premiums.
With 271 plan options, enrollees in every area of the country have multiple choices with varying coverage options and pricing levels, which is why federal employees are encouraged to use the upcoming open season as an opportunity to comparison shop. OPM offers comparison charts at www.opm.gov that can help employees choose a plan. In addition, during the open season, NTEU members will again have access to Consumers’ Checkbook’s online Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees and Annuitants. We will provide more information on that resource when it is available.
OPM also announced that average premium increases for dental plans is 0.21 percent. Vision plans will see an average premium decrease of 0.41 percent.
Eligible federal employees who want to set aside pretax dollars in flexible spending accounts (FSA) for their dependent care and health care costs must enroll in FSAFEDS. Enrollees may carry over up to $570 of unused funds remaining in their health care flexible spending accounts and limited expense flexible spending accounts at the end of 2022 into 2023, if they reenroll.
NTEU will continue to fight for ways to bring down health care premiums and educate our members on how to choose coverage that meets their families’ needs at the lowest cost possible.
Anthony M. Reardon