There are a variety of work-related benefits for federal employees compared to those employees working in the private sector.
Chief among these benefits is the government’s health benefits.
However, understanding the nuances of your healthcare benefits as a federal employee is essential if you want to make the most of them.
Furthermore, these benefits often influence both your present and future well-being. Consequently, we’ve developed this overview of the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program.
Read on to learn more about FEHB and how it compares to healthcare options for private-sector employees.
What Is the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program?
Throughout the many years we’ve practiced law, federal employees regularly ask us, What is the Federal Employees Health Benefits program?
FEHB is one of the most comprehensive employer-sponsored health benefits programs in the United States. It caters to both current and retired federal employees, providing a broad spectrum of health insurance plans.
FEHB offers more than 200 health plan options. Various options include fee-for-service (FFS) plans, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and point-of-service (POS) products.
FEHB also offers high deductible and consumer-driven health plans. These options enable federal employees to choose a plan that best meets their health needs and budget considerations.
Are Federal Employee Health Benefits Good?
Absolutely. For one, the sheer extent of federal benefits is higher. This is one reason federal employees receive an estimated $6 to $8 per hour more in benefits than their private-sector colleagues.
There are a number of other, more specific advantages to consider. One of the best facets of the FEHB program is its inclusivity.
Regardless of your medical history or pre-existing conditions, FEHB guarantees your eligibility to enroll. This is a huge advantage because only 70% of private-sector workers had medical care benefits in 2022.
Many of the remaining 30% face exclusion because of common pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, the FEHB program also extends coverage to your family members, including spouses and dependent children.
FEHB Benefits: Better Coverage and Higher Competition
Another benefit of the program is that it offers a wide range of coverage. FEHB plans offer coverage for things like:
- Preventive services,
- Hospital care,
- Surgical services,
- Outpatient care,
- Inpatient care,
- Maternity care,
- Mental health services, and
- Prescription drugs.
Moreover, FEHB offers nationwide and even worldwide coverage. This helps guarantee that federal employees and retirees maintain their benefits even when they relocate across the world.
One more positive feature of FEHB is that it fosters competition among health plans. This results in competitive pricing and better coverage for employees and their loved ones.
The government contributes a significant portion towards the premiums (up to 75%), making it more affordable for federal employees. Finally, government employees pay health premiums on a pre-tax basis, conferring a significant tax advantage.
FEHB: The Benefits Continue in Retirement
A significant highlight of the FEHB program is that it continues into retirement. This means that federal retirees can enjoy the same benefits they had when they were active workers for the federal government.
That said, there are a few eligibility requirements. To maintain FEHB coverage in retirement, you generally need to have been covered by the program for the last five years of your federal service.
If you have fewer than five years of federal service, you need to have enrolled in FEHB at the earliest opportunity when you started federal work.
In general, retirees receive the same health benefits as active employees. Nonetheless, they pay slightly more for coverage because they do not receive the tax advantage as government workers.
However, the government continues to pay a substantial share of the premiums.
Still Curious to Learn More About Your Federal Health Benefits? Give Us a Call Today
Now you know the answer to the basic questions on this issue, like, What is FEHB? Yet this article only provides a general overview of the FEHB and the benefits it offers.
If you have more specific questions or need additional information, it’s best to contact an attorney.
However, it’s important you contact a qualified federal employment attorney. No attorney can specialize in every area of law, so you need someone with years of experience with all aspects of federal employment law.
Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of professionals at the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC, is ready to meet any federal employment need.
We want you to feel secure in your federal health benefits and in every other benefit you enjoy as a federal employee. We recognize that federal employees do the nation a great service by dedicating themselves to public service.
Therefore, it’s important to us that you enjoy every facet of your federal benefits.