FEHB premiums


Q. I retired in 2010, and my Federal Employees Health Benefits premiums have gone up. This year, it increased almost 30 percent. The cost is about one-quarter of my monthly income. I can’t afford this. My problem is, I guess that I will have to leave FEHB for the Affordable Care Act. And I will never be able to get it back. Why do retirees on FEHB have such a high premium? Our income doesn’t go up 30 percent to cover the difference. Any suggestions?

A. The premiums you pay are based on the actual cost of the benefits paid on behalf of the plan’s enrollees, plus a profit margin that rarely reaches 2 percent. They are further influenced by the amount the government pays on your behalf, which is 72 percent of the weighted average cost of all plans, not to exceed 75 percent of the cost of any specific plan. During the next open season, you should look at the premium costs of other plans that may offer similar benefits to the one you are in now.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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