Get a Life!: Open season
The government giveth and taketh. Salaries for federal workers will rise this year about 3.9 percent. And federal retirees will have one of the highest cost -of-living increases in years: 5.8 percent for those in the Civil Service Retirement System and 4.8 percent for those in the Federal Employees Retirement System.
At the same time, premium rates for health plans will also rise, and some plans will get a stiffer increase than others. For example, enrollees in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield standard option — a popular choice — will see their out-of-pocket premiums rise by 13 percent.
Rates for dental and vision plans, known as FEDVIP, will also change.
Although premiums for dental insurance will rise, vision insurance will see little or no increase. Federal workers pay the premium for their health and dental care plans on a pre-tax basis. Federal retirees pay the entire premium with no tax benefit.
The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association and the National Treasury Employees Union are asking Congress to approve legislation that would extend to federal civilian and military retirees the right to pay health insurance premiums on a pre-tax basis.
Open season for health, dental and vision benefits and flexible spending accounts is from Nov. 10 to Dec. 8 this year. Beginning Nov. 3, the Office of Personnel Management will have a newly revamped Web site for information on federal benefits.
That might make it easier to select your health benefit plan, but it won’t make increasing health costs easier to swallow. Judy Welles
Posted by Judith Welles on Oct 21, 2008 at 12:13 PM