Federal Eye: Federal Employee Health Care Costs to Jump 8.8%

Federal government employees enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program will pay an average 8.8 percent more in health-care costs in 2010, according to figures released Tuesday by the Office of Personnel Management.

The increase equals an average $5.98 increase per pay check for someone with individual health-care coverage, and an average $12.87 increase for employees whose plans cover families, OPM said. The increase compares to a 6.5 percent jump in 2009 and a 2.1 percent increase in 2008.

“An 8.8 percent increase is not an increase that we feel comfortable with,” OPM Associate Director Nancy Kichak told reporters. “It’s not one that we would like to see our enrollees bear, but unfortunately we’re a victim of the market.”

FEHBP provides coverage to almost 8 million people, with 4,063,684 current and former employees currently enrolled, OPM said.

The combined cost to employees and the government will increase 7.4 percent, compared to 7 percent in 2009, Kichak said. The government contributes approximately 70 percent of the total cost of a plan’s premium.

Employees’ dental plan costs will also climb 4.2 percent, and vision care will increase 2.4 percent. Currently there are more than 800,000 contracts in the dental program and about 600,000 in the vision program, according to OPM.

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