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Federal Employees News Digest : Oct. 1, 2012
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 october 1, 2012 • Vol. 62, No. 12 continued on page 3 Mixed reaction to FEHB premium rise The Office of Personnel Management announced last month that premi- ums for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program will increase by an average of 3.4 percent overall in 2013--- and federal employee organizations reg- istered mixed reactions to the upward drift in pricing. In making the announcement, OPM said that the increase is smaller than last year's 3.8 percent hike, and noted that annual increases have "steadily declined" since 2009, when the average premium spiked upward 7 percent. OPM said that an FEHB enrollee with self-only coverage will pay an average of only $2.75 more per biweekly pay period, while an enrollee with family coverage will pay an average of $6.39 more. The actual amount of year-to- year change varies widely among spe- cific FEHB plans. The employee share of the 2013 pre- mium actually will rise 3.7 percent on average because of the way premium payment is split between the two pay- ers---the employee and the federal gov- ernment. OPM also stated that premiums for health maintenance organization (HMO) plans will rise more on aver- age---5.3 percent, and that fee-for-ser- vice plan premiums will rise slightly less on average, at 3 percent. The average increase in premiums for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, which are paid entirely by the employee, will be less than 1 percent, OPM said. About 8.2 million people are covered by FEHB plans. Fed groups offer different view "I am pleased that we were able to keep the average increase low again this year," OPM Director John Berry said last week. "Once again, we successfully used our market leverage and previous years' experience to negotiate the lowest possible premium rates without sacrific- ing benefits." While Berry expressed satisfaction with the size of the increase, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said the hike was too high for federal employees and retirees experiencing the effects of a two-year pay freeze. "Congress and the administration have decided to turn the federal work- force into a 'fixed income' population that simply cannot afford another cent toward already inflated FEHB premi- ums," Cox said in a press statement. "Now federal employees are facing the prospect of an extension of the pay freeze through April 2013. How can they be expected to afford another increase in FEHB rates while their sala- ries don't increase? It's the same as a pay cut." Colleen Kelley, national president of The great divide In addition to the obvious differences between men and women, there are other things that sometimes divide us humans. Whether it is nature or nurture, whether we are born that way or develop certain traits over time, I think that most people are divided into two camps. Some are in the glass-is-half-full camp. Others see the exact same glass and say it is half empty. The half-fullers seem to enjoy most aspects of life. They rarely have a bad meal. They aren't troubled by the way clothing or shoes fit. Take rain and snow in stride. Don't complain about the heat or humidity. Realize that commercials make TV shows possible. Think the president (in most any administration) is doing the best he can. Etc. Glass-half-empty types take the same situations, food, clothing, weather and things like TV commercials person- ally. Actually, as something specifically designed to irritate them. Things that could and should be changed. If the economy is bad, they blame the presi- dent (or the previous one). If it is good, they take that as proof that it could (and should) be even better. In short, people seem to be wired dif- ferently. Could be nature or nurture, or a combination of both. Although the half-fullers are more fun (at least for me), it takes all kinds. INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Friend to feds departs Senate 3 • Overfilled prisons endanger staff 4 • In Brief 5 • Informed investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8
Sept. 24, 2012
Oct. 8, 2012