9/24/13: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) today announced an average increase of 3.7 percent in 2014 health premiums for federal employees and retirees.
“Higher health premiums are yet another financial hardship for federal employees and retirees in these tough economic times,” said NTEU National President Colleen M. Kelley. “Any increase in premiums places an undue burden on federal employees given the freeze on federal pay, unpaid furloughs and now the threat of a government shutdown.”
In announcing the 2014 premium rates for plans under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), OPM also announced that program participants will be able to choose from 256 health plans choices next year –about 10 percent more than in 2013. In the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan, enrollees with self-only coverage will pay an average of 2.22 percent more in 2014 than in 2013, and those with family coverage will pay 2.42 percent more each pay period.
The NTEU leader also emphasized that federal workers are already working under a three-year pay freeze and facing unpaid furlough days, and other pressures on their agencies generated by sequestration. Retirees also face the financial problem of rising health care costs while their incomes are largely fixed.
“As health care premiums continue to rise, federal employees have no means of offsetting these increases because their pay has remained stagnant for three years,” said Kelley. “NTEU is committed to working to end the pay freeze. We need to get back on course to fair pay raises for the federal workforce.”
OPM also notes that federal employees generally pay a higher share of their health care premiums than private sector workers.
The 3.7 percent increase in Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) rates for 2014 is the slightly higher than last year’s increase of 3.4 percent. OPM also announced premium rates for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP): premium increases for dental plans average less than one percent for 2014 and average vision plan premiums will decrease just over one percent.