Benefits experts at the Office of Personnel Management fielded questions from federal employees and annuitants during a Twitter chat. Self-plus-one was one of the questions feds were most interested in finding out more about.
Benefits expert David Snell of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, joins Federal News Radio's Mike Causey for an online chat about Open Season and federal benefits.
Pay, pensions and health insurance premiums are all going up in the next several months. But definitely not at the same rate, says Senior Correspondent Mike Causey. White collar workers know what their January 2015 raise will be. But the cost of living adjustment for retirees is still to be decided, and new (and in some cases higher) health premiums will be unveiled in October.
The Office of Personnel Management just issued a final rule that lets a subset of federal employees enroll in or switch dental and vision plans outside of the open enrollment periods. The amendment goes into effect next month.
While federal employees gave high marks on usefulness and importance to the Thrift Savings Plan, only a small percentage said they had flexible spending accounts because they saw little value in the program. The results are part of a survey that OPM has been doing since 2004 to gauge worker opinions on the health and wellness benefits it offers.
Crushing medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. But you can avoid that by choosing one of the many federal health plans, and picking one that limits your maximum out-of-pocket costs, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.
The FEHBP Drug Integrity, Transparency and Cost Savings Act would give OPM more oversight of contracts and pricing methods. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) said the bill would save the government billions.
In inspirational movies, a heroic general often says things like, "failure is not an option." And that's silly, of course, because failure is always an option and that's especially true for millions of current and former federal workers - some of whom are sleepwalking their way through the health insurance hunting season, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.
When it comes to picking a federal health plan, two cannot live as cheaply as one - you want to be the Lone Ranger, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.
92 percent of plans have taken steps to educate their members about health information technology, but less than 5 percent of members are accessing their records online.
The White House wants to carve out the prescription drug piece and give OPM the ability to negotiate prices through a third party. But experts say this change would cost employees more money and be the first step toward dismantling the entire Federal Employee Health Benefit program.
Federal employees will see an average of 3.8 percent increase in healthcare premiums in 2012, the lowest rate hike since 2008 and about half of last year\'s increase. On average, enrollees with self-only coverage will pay $2.32 more per bi-weekly pay period, and enrollees with family coverage will pay $6.18 more, the Office of Personnel Management said.
On today\'s Federal Drive: The Senate has appeared to avert a government shutdown with the passage of a stopgap funding measure and a proposed bill would allow federal employees to donate unused sick leave to other feds.
The Office of Personnel Management has released updated security notices for its new Federal Employees Health Benefits program database.