Pay & Benefits Watch Pay & Benefits WatchPay & Benefits Watch
Key developments in the world of federal employee benefits: health, pay, and much more.

Health insurers urged to expand federal benefits

ARCHIVES
The Office of Personnel Management is calling on the companies that provide health care insurance to federal employees to improve the benefits available to plan participants.

In a speech delivered at an America's Health Insurance Plans meeting on Thursday, OPM Director John Berry said he expects carriers for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to provide expanded coverage and additional plan benefits, such as concrete incentives for federal workers to participate in wellness and prevention programs.

"I knew when I accepted this job that FEHB, as great as it is, could be better," Berry said. "FEHB will be the innovation leader in employer-based health care."

For 2012, OPM is seeking to make FEHBP coverage available and more affordable for additional groups, including tribal employees and lower-wage workers. Plans in 2011 extended coverage to adult dependent children up to age 26 -- as required under the health care reform law -- and about 280,000 additional dependents will remain on their parents' plans this year, according to Berry.

He also encouraged carriers to expand affinity benefits offered to same-sex domestic partners of federal workers. Five plans already offer coverage, which is paid for in full by employees and does not add to government expenses, he said, noting that Obama administration officials will work with Congress to extend these benefits to all domestic partners within FEHBP.

To lower costs within the program, OPM will eliminate $5 million in premiums by providing plan brochures online rather than by mail, Berry said. He also noted that additional flexibility in President Obama's fiscal 2012 budget to streamline pharmacy benefits will lower prescription drug costs for federal employees.

Additional savings will be found through a new health claims data warehouse, which Berry said will be up and running this year. OPM in October 2010 announced plans for the database, which will track and evaluate the quality and cost of services provided through FEHBP. The tool will centralize information about FEHBP; the National Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program, which provides coverage to those denied insurance because of a medical condition; and the Multistate Option Plan.

"FEHB operates on a simple principle: that competition drives better performance and lower prices," said Berry. "To maintain a robust market and honor that principle, we need a greater understanding of plan performance and the factors driving cost."

In addition to extending benefits to dependent adult children, FEHBP plans already in 2011 have expanded coverage of preventive services and screenings without requiring co-insurance; began offering smoking cessation programs; and eliminated annual and lifetime dollar limits on medication and treatment.

Carriers on Friday will receive a call letter detailing expectations for plans in 2012.

 
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.