Question: I’m planning to elect self plus one coverage in the FEHBP for next year but that costs more in my plan than family coverage. Can that be right?
Answer: The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program offers self only, family and self plus one options. As in past years, in some plans — 39 of the 262 in 2018 — an enrollee will pay more to cover just a spouse or one eligible child than to cover a family of unlimited size. In some others, rates are the same or self plus one costs only slightly less.
That’s due to the way the cost is split between the government and enrollees. The government share is capped at 72 percent of a weighted average cost across all plans for each type of enrollment. Enrollees therefore pay a higher share in the more expensive ones. Meanwhile, retirees account for 60 percent of those enrolled in self plus one, and older people in general consume more health care, skewing those premiums upward.
However, in some plans self plus one is substantially cheaper than family coverage. Also, there is a wide range of costs among plans to choose from during the open season through Dec. 11.