Federal Employee Health Benefits premiums are set to jump 8.7% in 2023. What does that mean for Federal Disability Retirement applicants?
On September 30, 2022, the Office of Personnel Management announced that there will be a price hike in premiums for health insurance coverage during the 2023 fiscal year. For those of you who have filed for Federal Disability Retirement (FDR) but who still have a pending application, know that so you can plan ahead. When you apply for Federal Disability Retirement, you will answer the question, “Are you eligible to continue Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage as a retiree?” If you answer no, then the change in the premium cost for health insurance will not affect you. If you check yes, after you received your approval you should carefully consider the elections that you make for the type of plan that is best for you and your family.
There are FEHB plans available that could allow you to pay less in premiums, and there are others that could require you to pay more. Remember that the 8.7% rise in premiums for FEHBP enrollees is an average increase, so your specific plan selection does matter. With 271 plan choices (with some holding regional limitations), there is variation in how much you will ultimately pay for your health insurance coverage. However, after your FDR approval, you should anticipate that you will pay more out of your federal disability retirement than you might have anticipated.
What if you are already receiving Federal Disability Retirement benefits?
If you have already been approved for Federal Disability Retirement and are in an interim pay status, you are receiving less than the actual benefit you’ll receive when placed into final pay status. What this means is that you might feel the financial impact of the higher premiums more strongly when your 2023 enrollment begins, because you will likely be paying more for the premiums out of a smaller benefit. The good news is that once you are placed into final pay, your total benefit received per month will increase. Therefore, the rise in premiums might be less impactful for you, since a smaller percentage of your benefit will go towards the expense of your health care coverage.
Please note that you will be able to make new elections for FEHB coverage beginning November 14, 2022 and ending December 12, 2022, during which open enrollment will take place. This is your time to change your elections if it is predicted that the 8.7% premium increase will result in a much higher cut to your benefit.
What will happen to the premiums for FEHB Dental and Vision Insurance?
Federal Employee Health Benefits for Dental and Vision Insurance premiums will only see slight increases, with 0.2% increases for dental and 0.41% increases for vision. This is projected to have very minimal effects on your Federal Disability Retirement benefit.
With the premium increases, will there be any other changes to my FEHB insurance options?
With the premium increase, there will also be a roll-out of some positive changes to health insurance options for federal employees. Those changes will include offering more telehealth options for care, coverage for COVID-19 related care and broadening coverage maternal and women’s health benefits. Keep this in mind when you are making your selections. If you have questions about federal health insurance premiums and FERS disability retirement, please call Maggie Kritzberg or Peter Casciano at 301-563-6685.
About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The firm represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country and practices family law throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. The firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone and are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and their attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at andalmanflynn.com or call 301.563.6685.