by Ralph Smith
As we first noted back in December 2013, the Congressional budget agreement announced by Congressman (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) would allow the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to create a “self-plus-one option” in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB).
A self-plus one option would be popular, particularly for couples nearing retirement or not planning on having a family. A number of FedSmith readers have commented that the existing system of requiring a couple to purchase a health benefits plan at the same rate as an entire family is not reasonable. Presumably, these comments are assuming that a “self plus one” option under the FEHB would be less expensive that buying a family plan.
The process of creating and implementing this self-plus-one option is moving forward. It may not arrive as quickly as many would like but, beginning in 2016, this new enrollment option for the FEHB is scheduled to be in effect.
OPM has issued a Benefits Administration Letter dated March 24, 2014 (displayed below) entitled “Self Plus One Enrollment.” The purpose of the letter is to announce “the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will be implementing a new enrollment type, Self Plus One, under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. This letter also outlines agency responsibilities for the implementation of the Self Plus One enrollment type.”
The Self Plus One enrollment type for the FEHB will cover the federal employee or retired federal employee and one eligible family member.
This means that the annual Open Season for enrolling in the FEHB program or changing plans that starts on November 9, 2015 will include the Self Plus One enrollment type in the available enrollment choices.
OPM also noted that “The FEHB carriers are taking action to have Self Plus One implemented by September 1, 2015.”