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Increases in rates are caused by changes in medical inflation (health care services cost more), demographics (aging population), changes in benefits, technology, and utilization. The bottom line is that nothing in healthcare costs is declining, and health plans look for a balance between premiums and deductibles and copayments to cover the cost of paying benefits. Under federal law, health plan rates must “reasonably and equitably reflect the cost of the benefits provided.” OPM’s actuaries scrutinize each health plan’s proposed rates to determine whether the rates comply with this law.
We are employees and we feel the premium increases, too. We believe that health plan comparison shopping and smart decision making – using in-network doctors and asking for generic prescriptions – can help offset out-of-pocket expenses. Employees can also use the FSAFEDS program to help manage these expenses through pre-tax payroll deduction.
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