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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Holds Average FEHB Premium Increase to about Two Percent for Second Year

Federal Benefits Open Season name change better reflects comprehensive benefits program

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) today announced health insurance premiums in the 2008 Federal Benefits Open Season that reflect an average two percent increase for the second year; premium increases for enrollees vary by plan, within a range of -47 percent to 132 percent. OPM also announced the renaming of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Open Season to the Federal Benefits Open Season to reflect the broadened scope of benefits available, including the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS). The FEHBP features 283 plan choices in 2008, one less than in 2007.

This year's FEHBP will offer 32 high-deductible health plan (HDHP) choices, an increase from 29 available in 2007. More than 9,000 people are currently enrolled in HDHPs, and about 19,000 are enrolled in three additional consumer-driven health plans. In addition, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Basic Option is offering HDHP pilots in Kansas/Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and Tennessee. HDHPs provide savings accounts to allow consumers to exercise more control over their health-care dollars.

"OPM works aggressively with health insurance plans to hold down premium costs for Federal employees, retirees and dependents, while at the same time negotiating expanded coverages," said Linda M. Springer, Director of OPM. "For example, at the prompting of OPM in its Call Letter to health plans, some plans are adding hearing benefits for children up to age 22. And, in response to OPM's emphasis on preventive-care services, many plans are providing benefits in accordance with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines, while others have enhanced their preventive-care benefits for 2008."

FEDVIP will begin its second season in 2008 after a highly successful first year of operation, which saw an unprecedented 750,000 employees and retirees sign up for either dental or vision coverage, or both programs. In one year, FEDVIP became the largest employer-sponsored dental-vision program in the nation.

The Federal Benefits Program Open Season for 2008 will be held governmentwide November 12 through December 10. This year's Guide to Federal Benefits will include information about the FEHB, FEDVIP and FSAFEDS benefit programs. The guide explains the relationship among the programs, provides guidance on making enrollment decisions and instructs employees on what they need to do, if anything, during Open Season. The guide also provides information about two programs that do not participate in the annual Federal Benefits Open Season -- the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) and Federal Long Term Care Insurance (FLTCI) programs.

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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