Healthcare policies are like clothes: one size never fits all. There’s nothing worse than paying for healthcare coverage that you know you’ll probably never need. Young, healthy consumers often don’t need the range of services that an older consumer might; and plenty of older consumers who are healthy and still too young for Medicare, end up spending money on coverage they’ll never use.
Likewise, a federal employee with a growing family or an employee with a serious medical condition will need more coverage. It’s just as frustrating for them to not have the coverage they need as it is for someone else to pay for services they’ll never use.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is changing that. During the 2018 Open Season, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee Program (FEP) is offering a new third benefit plan option, FEP Blue Focus. FEP Blue Focus is designed for members who don’t need the full range of services offered by the Standard and Basic Options, but it guarantees the strength and security of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s best-in-class health plan at a new low-price bracket.
Healthcare coverage that fits your needs
Trusted for well over half a century, FEP offers free preventive care, 95 percent of doctors and 96 percent of hospitals in network, and about 12,000 overseas providers. All plans have enrollment options for individuals, spouses and families.
All FEP members also have access to MyBlue, a website with tools and information to help you get the most from your benefits. FEP’s mobile app, fepblue, is free at the App Store and Google Play.
Members have a choice of three benefit plan options: Standard Option, Basic Option, and now FEP Blue Focus. All three options cover in-network care, telehealth consultations, diagnostic services, and other essential services. The differences between them are based on their premiums and the amount of additional coverage you get. The higher the premium, the more Blue Cross Blue Shield will cover. The less coverage you need, the less you need to pay each month.
Standard Option offers the most comprehensive coverage. It includes in-network and out-of-network care; Preferred, non-preferred, and generic drug coverage; zero dollars in maternity visit co-pays; chiropractic care; and lower co-pays than the Basic Option for primary care, specialist, and telehealth visits. Preventive care is free, including risk assessment, cholesterol tests, mammograms and other cancer screenings, and vaccinations. Premiums are higher for Standard Option than for the other two options.
Basic Option offers slightly less coverage than the Standard Option, but premiums are lower and there are no deductibles — a huge draw for many members. Preventive care is still free, but co-pays for primary and specialist care are slightly higher. Basic covers generic, Preferred, and non-preferred medications, but this option does not cover out-of-network services.
FEP Blue Focus
The newest option is FEP Blue Focus and while it comes with less coverage than the other two options, it’s the most affordable and members still get access to Blue Cross Blue Shield’s vast network of doctors and providers. Additionally, the first 10 doctor visits are just $10 each, it comes with two free telehealth visits, and members don’t need a referral for specialists. Preventive care is free, and generic and certain Preferred medications are covered.
FEP Blue Focus does not cover out-of-network services. For services like labs, allergy treatments, surgery and emergency care, members pay 30 percent of the FEP Blue Focus allowance after meeting their calendar year deductible. There’s also an incentive for getting a check-up at your primary care doctor; this can include things like discounts on a meal delivery service or a health club membership.
Which option is right for me?
With FEP, you get exactly the care you need, without breaking the bank. To find out which plan is best for you and your budget, check out AskBlue for Federal Employees.
This content is made possible by Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP. The editorial staff of Government Executive was not involved in its preparation.