When Congress OK’d a self-plus-one (S+1) health plan option for active and retired feds, some happy couples rejoiced. They had visions of shelling out a lot less on health premiums if they could opt out of the traditional family plan.
Now that the S+1 option is a reality, the joy is not so much.
For years, feds without children, or whose chicks have left the nest, lobbied Congress and the Office of Personnel Management for a health plan of their own, within the federal group health program.
The couples argued that it was unfair for family plans to charge people the same premiums whether their family consisted to two people, or 20. Group plan, shmoop plan, they said.
Congress pretty much ignored the demand for an S+1 option. OPM said there probably wouldn’t be much premium difference between family plans and the S+1 option. Turns out they were pretty close.
There will be some savings for those who chose the S+1 option. But not much. Example:
Next year Blue Cross-Blue Shield’s standard plan will offer three options. Nonpostal workers wil pay $100.18 biweekly for the self-only option; $238.24 for the family plan and $231.31 for the S+1 option. The government will continue to pay about 70 percent of the total premium.
The Blues’ basic plan next will will offer the self only option to employees for $68.48 biweekly; family coverage for $164.20, and the S+1 option for $160.75. Less, but not much less.
Federal retirees pay the same premiums, in the same plans, as nonpostal federal workers. The difference is that retirees pay monthly, rather than biweekly. Retirees will also be able to pick the S+1 option during the November-December open season.
For some the selfie-plus-one option came a little too late. As with this comment from Peter K who said:
“I know that the self-plus one option sounds like a great thing. But for me it seems like a slap in the face. For seventeen years, I paid for the full family coverage for myself and my
daughter. I would have saved a small fortune over that time if the self-plus one was available. Now that I need coverage for my larger family of four, I will have to pay more for it because self plus one coverage means higher premiums for family coverage. So I lost out for 17 years, and now I lose again.