News Coronavirus watch16 Oct 2020

US:COVID-19 limits federal insurance premium hike

| 16 Oct 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped to limit the expected increase in premiums of the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) programme next year.

On Wednesday, the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that the average total premiums for current non-Postal employees and retirees enrolled in plans under the FEHB programme will increase 3.6%.

During a press call, OPM healthcare and insurance acting director Laurie Bodenheimer said that this year was particularly complicated given the COVID-19 crisis, but that the pandemic has limited OPM’s annual premium rate increase.

“COVID-19 did have a significant impact, but not in the way perhaps many people think,” she said. “There was a period of time from mid-March through the end of May where a lot of people deferred certain types of care, routine care, anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. Elective surgeries were often deferred or delayed related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But for COVID-19, the premium increase would likely have been a fair amount higher.”

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