Do your health homework this weekend! | Federal News Network

Did you know that Rolls-Royce makes SUVs? Putting one in your driveway will cost you at least $500,000. The Cullinan is like a super-super Suburban, but with a place for champagne flutes in the back seat.

Until a few weeks ago, I had never seen an impressive car called the Cullinan. Found not in Beverly Hills, Scarsdale, New York, or Great Falls, Virginia, but on the streets of Da Nang, Vietnam. Oddly enough, during my 12 days on vacation in this extraordinary country, I saw more Rolls-Royces than I see in a year in the United States. Even national heritage sites like Ho Chi Minh City have 1%.

Knowing that opening season for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program was approaching, I asked several local Vietnamese what their experience with health care was like in this relatively poor but rapidly developing country. They basically said, “It would be nice if you had money.”

In some ways, this is true everywhere. Countries from Vietnam to the United Kingdom have public (also called social) health care programs as well as private programs for those who can afford them. Of course, you see people driving Rolls-Royces everywhere and they just pay for it. But few places, and certainly no private employers, offer a range of health insurance plan options from which federal employees can choose.

America’s health care and Medicare systems can be expensive, frustrating, and inefficient at their worst. At best, it provides another incentive for millions of people to try to enter the United States, and just as the Thrift Savings Plan serves as a model for 401K-type plans, the FEHBP plan may be the best health-related benefit you can get. Can be found everywhere. As someone who has a really good plan from a union, I’m jealous!

Anecdote: A close friend and neighbor, a longtime attorney for a federal agency, suddenly fell ill with a life-threatening illness a week ago. Within a day or two, he had an appointment with a specialist at Elite Medical Services in the Washington area. No one can escape the Creator’s ultimate plan, but with the help of FEHBP, you have a better chance than most people on the planet, including those still squatting in the rice fields of Southeast Asia.

That’s why I want to urge you to do the necessary research between now and the end of open season on Monday to ensure you have the best plan at the best price for you and your dependents (if applicable). I say this because the percentage of employees who actually change jobs in a given year is in the single digits.

Yes, premiums are rising by nearly 8% on average this year, after rising by nearly 9% last year. Growth doesn’t happen across the board, though. Kevin Moss, editor of the Consumer Checkbook Guide to Federal Employee Health Plans, said at least one plan is down 50%.He recently spoke to Federal News Network open season exchange.

In addition to paying less to replace what you already have, Moss said switching from self-plus-one to a single plan as a couple can also save money.

“It may be that one plan is more effective for one spouse and another plan is more effective for the other spouse,” he said. Be sure to consider the deductible when doing calculus.

As the Office of Personnel Management noted, the number of options for the 2024 program has declined. But the reduction from 271 plans to 156 plans looks more dramatic than it actually is. Humana and some smaller providers withdrew their HMO (health maintenance organization) plans from the federal marketplace, Moss said. Those in the program have to make a choice. Otherwise, OPM will enroll you in GEHA Elevate, the lowest-cost national PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) program. This is a good plan. You have other options, but you have to do some homework. As Moss said, you want to maintain control over your choice of health insurance provider.

Another thing to keep in mind: Your area doesn’t offer a plan that you might like. Check again. It may have spread. As an example, Moss pointed to a plan by Kaiser Permanente Colorado to add two more counties next year. Sentara Health expands from Newport News, Virginia, into northern Virginia. Additionally, you may be able to select new options from existing bidders. For example, Moss said, Compass Rose will offer new standard plans.

you understood. There’s a wealth of information in our Exchange, Consumer Checkbook Guide, and OPM materials. Use it to make good things better.

Almost useless facts

Author: Daisy Thornton

One of the most expensive coffees in the world originates from Vietnam. Kopi Luwak, also known as weasel coffee, sells for up to $3,500 per kilogram. The reason it’s so expensive is that the process is labor-intensive: the coffee cherries are actually eaten and partially digested by Asian civets, a type of weasel. Cherries partially ferment during digestion, changing their flavor. Farmers then collect the coffee beans from the manure, clean them, and continue the roasting process.

Source: Culture Trip

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