The health insurance marketplace has changed significantly since the FEHBP was enacted in 1959 and the current governing statute leaves little flexibility for the program to evolve with the changing market. The 2015 budget proposes that beginning in 2016: domestic partners of Federal employees and new retirees would be eligible for health benefits; OPM would be authorized to contract with modern types of health plans rather than being limited to the current four statutorily-defined plans reflective of the 1950s insurance market; OPM would be authorized to contract separately for pharmacy benefit management services; and OPM would be given authority to make adjustments to premiums based on an enrollee's tobacco use and/or participation in a wellness program.
Last year's wish list included adding a self plus one option to the FEHBP. Congress enacted that suggestion because CBO scored that change as creating budget savings. OPM has decided to delay implementing that change until 2016 as the FEHBlog noted last week.