Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.
Skip Navigation

In This Section

Our Director Director's Blog

Last week, at the annual Carrier Conference, OPM met with the insurance carriers that provide our Federal family across the nation with an array of health plan choices.

The conference offered OPM the opportunity to discuss details and trends with the insurers who offer coverage to the 8.2 million Federal employees, retirees, and their families who depend on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) for coverage.

April is Autism Awareness month, and on April 1 the President issued a proclamation in honor of World Autism Awareness Day. With this being Autism Awareness month, I want to highlight one important change OPM is making to the FEHB benefit package that will impact children on the autism spectrum. Beginning in 2017, OPM will expect all our insurers to offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) benefits to children on the autism spectrum.

When I addressed the FEHB insurers at the Carrier Conference, I reminded them that for the past several years OPM has been encouraging plans to cover this treatment. I’m happy to say that since 2013 more and more plans have been offering this intensive therapy, which is becoming a leading form of treatment for children on the autism spectrum. In fact, 43 states now require health insurers to cover ABA.

But despite the recent voluntary expansion, OPM continued to receive letters from Federal families desperate to get coverage for their children. We heard from Federal families who had to pay out-of-pocket for this expensive care. By requiring every plan to cover ABA, all Federal employees with children on the autism spectrum will have access to this important coverage.

In addition to the obvious benefits to our Federal employees and their families, it is important that our FEHB benefits are on par with the private, academic, and non-profit sectors.  In fact, the results from our 2015 Employee Benefits Survey bear this out:  67 percent of respondents said the availability of FEHB influenced their decision to take a Federal job. And 78 percent said having that benefit influences their decision to stay. Very simply, if the Federal Government does not offer high quality and inclusive health benefits, we run the risk of not attracting and retaining a high quality Federal workforce.

The addition of ABA coverage for children on the autism spectrum is another example of how OPM is continually evaluating and updating health benefits for Federal employees, retirees, and their families.

Photo of Acting Director Colbert addressing the FEHB insurers at the Annual Carrier Conference.

    0 thumbs up Share
Control Panel

Unexpected Error

There was an unexpected error when performing your action.

Your error has been logged and the appropriate people notified. You may close this message and try your command again, perhaps after refreshing the page. If you continue to experience issues, please notify the site administrator.

Working...