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Federal Employees News Digest : May 13, 2013
When you're ready to do something bigger When you're ready to advance your career You are ready for American Public University American Public University is ready to help you move your career forward. We offer respected degrees in Business Administration, Information Technology, Security Management, Management, Military Management and Program Acquisition, and more --- completely online. We're also able to provide our students with opportunities beyond the virtual classroom working with select Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. And people are taking notice. We've been nationally recognized by the Sloan Consortium for effective practices in online education. When you're ready, visit StudyatAPU.com/FEN We want you to make an informed decision about the university that's right for you. For more about the graduation rate and median debt of students who completed each program, as well as other important information---visit www.APUS.edu/disclosure. May 13, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 41 5 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com for Part D [prescription drug coverage] as well, they'll save hugely on drug bills, too. So the only question is getting people to sign up. And people don't because the incentives are wrong---the average enrollee actually doesn't save on his premiums. The average person [in Medicare Part B] would pay around $1,000 per year and get back only about $500 or so. But the cost sav- ings---to the FEHB, to the country---are much, much bigger. So what we need to do is rearrange the incentives here, so those overall savings are realized. And it's getting worse: fewer and fewer people are paying for Part B. Could you summarize your reaction, overall, to OPM's proposals for modern- ization of FEHB? Francis: My overall reaction to the OPM proposals is that they seem to be dancing around the edges. They are not dealing with the most fundamental prob- lem, which is to improve Medicare coor- dination with FEHB, as I explained. The second fundamental problem is that if I choose a less expensive plan, for now the government keeps three-quarters of the savings, and I get one-quarter. It's not a strong enough incentive, and that mix should be changed---as I argue in my book. If that happened, it would lead to a lot more enrollees changing plans and a lot more savings. Here's some compelling evidence: When Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D were enacted, they were modeled after FEHBP---and their cre- ators were well aware of this problem of who gets the savings from frugal choices. So, they flipped the equation, giving the enrollee 75 percent of the savings and the government 25 percent---and these programs have been incredibly popular and successful. OPM should do this with FEHB, and let 1,000 flowers bloom. Retirement claims ebb, but processing may suffer The Office of Personnel Management reported that it took in 7,059 claims in April, almost 1,000 fewer than the 8,000 it had forecast. The drop comes after three straight months in which actual retirement claims exceeded projections. In March, OPM received more than twice the number of new retirement claims it had expected---10,183 versus the 5,000 new claims it had forecast, and in February, it received 20,374 claims, far more than the 5,600 it had predicted. Claims normally spike in January, when OPM received 22,187 claims, slightly exceeding the 21,000 it had expected. OPM in April also recorded its fourth consecutive month of processing more claims in than it had projected---13,582 continued from page 4 continued on page 6
May 6, 2013
May 20, 2013