Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday update

Happy Halloween! The FEHBlog missed the regular weekend update yesterday as he was travelling back from New York City. The FEHBlog will be back on track this weekend.

We are now 18 days from the end of the current continuing resolution funding the federal government and 23 days from the due date for the Super Committee's deficit reduction recommendations to Congress.

Both the House and the Senate are in session this week. The Hill reports that the House majority is working on a 30 day extension of the continuing resolution.

We are two weeks away from the start of the Federal Benefits Open Season, which starts on November 14 and ends on December 12.  During the Open Season, federal and postal employees and retirees can change FEHB plans without any pre-existing condition limitation -- an historic feature of the FEHBP. The Federal Times reports today that
The Office of Personnel Management, which runs FEHBP, said in an e-mail that about 10 percent of active federal employees and 4 percent of retirees change health plans each year — usually selecting a less expensive program. Those shifts help hold down premium costs by about 1 percent, OPM said. Feds in the Washington area, for example, can choose from 27 different plans, and OPM said the wide assortment of choices leads directly to movement among plans.
"One of the unique advantages of the FEHB is the large number of plans from which enrollees can choose," Jonathan Foley, OPM's director of planning and policy analysis, said in an Oct. 20 e-mail. "In a given open season, the net effect of enrollee movement is a reduction in total premium increase when compared to the increase that would have resulted from a static population."
November should be an interesting month.

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