Nonprofit Guide Rates APWU Health Plan at the Top
11/13/2007 - The APWU Health Plan has been given high marks by Consumers’ Checkbook Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees, which was released Nov. 12, the first day of the FEHBP Open Season.
Industry analysts say that federal employees are being offered the widest range of options ever in the 2008 Open Season, with more nationally-available plans offering the newest types of health insurance, such as APWU’s Consumer Driven Option.
Such plans — which have been in existence for only four years — give workers a chance to realize considerable savings in comparison to the traditional coverage options, health benefits analyst Walton Francis said. “These plans are among the biggest bargains,” Francis told Stephen Barr, the Washington Post “Federal Diary” columnist.
The analyst described consumer-driven plans as “a bit complicated,” but added that they are “not beyond the capacity of the smart and well-educated federal workforce.”
For federal employees under age 55, Checkbook is giving high marks to the APWU Consumer Driven Option and a few others that are available to any of the 4 million enrollees in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
The Checkbook guide is produced by the Center for the Study of Services, a consumer organization founded in 1974. The nonprofit organization is funded entirely by consumers through publication-subscription payments and donations.
The consumer guide offers a chance to make an educated comparison. “It is not irrational to stick with the tried and true and familiar,” Francis said. “But that decision comes at a not insignificant dollar price.”
“The Checkbook recommendation is one more good reason for our members to sign up with the APWU Health Plan this Open Season,” said union President William Burrus. “And as we have been pointing out, our members can give themselves a nice raise simply by switching to the Consumer Driven Option.”
Checkbook offers cost-comparison tables for active federal employees and retirees, including likely payments for premiums, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and even catastrophic healthcare events.
Beginning in 2008, the union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement requires the USPS to increase its share of the premium cost for the APWU Consumer Driver Option to 95 percent. To be eligible for the reduced employee rates, active postal employees must have been enrolled in the FEHBP for at least one year.
Beginning in 2008, active postal employees who are members of the union will pay only $7.77 biweekly for individuals and $17.48 biweekly for families. That’s not only a bargain, it’s a reduction of $10.63 for individuals and $23.92 for families compared to 2007 rates. (For more on the APWU Health Plan options, visit www.apwuhp.com.)