Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee Program (FEP) Keeps Medical Premiums Stable While Expanding Plan Offerings for 2019

Subtitle
New choices include the FEP Blue Focus plan that costs less than other FEP plans; dental and vision plan premiums lowered for 2019

Washington – Today the Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) Government-wide Service Benefit Plan, also known as the Federal Employee Program® (FEP®), introduced FEP Blue FocusSM, a new coverage option for the federal workforce and retirees in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. Also this year, some uniformed service members and their dependents are eligible to enroll in FEP BlueDental® and/or FEP BlueVision® as part of the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

Premiums for both Standard Option and Basic Option will not increase for 2019. FEP Blue Focus premiums will be almost 30 percent lower than other FEP health plans. Additionally, BCBS’s FEDVIP plans, FEP BlueVision and FEP BlueDental, have premium decreases across their high and standard option offerings.

“FEP has long been committed to providing quality health insurance coverage at an affordable price,” said William A. Breskin, senior vice president of government programs for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “We are excited to introduce FEP Blue Focus, which is a great opportunity for federal employees, especially individuals just entering the workforce, to choose a quality health plan that best fits their needs. We also look forward to serving our nation’s military families with comprehensive dental and vision insurance plans at premium rates lower than in 2018.” 

Members in Standard Option, Basic Option and FEP Blue Focus plans will have access to telehealth services, which can be used for treatment of minor acute conditions, behavioral health and counseling for substance use disorders, and, new for this year, dermatology care. Each plan will also cover acupuncture and chiropractic care, urgent care centers and accidental injuries. 

All changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2019. Federal employees, retirees and their families will make their healthcare coverage decisions during Open Season, which runs from Nov. 12 through Dec. 10, 2018. 

Highlights of What’s New for 2019 

New benefit option—FEP Blue Focus 
FEP Blue Focus includes preventive care, along with access to the nationwide BCBS  network comprised of 96 percent of hospitals and 95 percent of doctors, and to more than 65,000 preferred retail pharmacies. FEP Blue Focus members will pay just $10 each for their first 10 primary and/or specialty care visits and will pay little or no cost for services that support good health. Members will also have access to generic prescription drugs and will be covered when traveling overseas. 

Expanded eligibility for Dental and Vision Coverage
During Open Season, 6 million retired uniformed service members and their dependents can enroll in FEDVIP dental plans, including FEP BlueDental. Additionally, 1.7 million dependents of active duty uniformed service members will be eligible for FEDVIP vision programs, including FEP BlueVision. 

2019 Approved Rates: 
Standard Option, Basic Option and FEP Blue Focus Premiums in 2019
Standard Option: 
Self Only biweekly premiums will be $112.23
Self Plus One biweekly premiums will be $256.54
Self and Family biweekly premiums will be $268.21

Basic Option: 
Self Only biweekly premiums will be $73.72
Self Plus One biweekly premiums will be $170.57 
Self and Family biweekly premiums will be $177.24

FEP Blue Focus: 
Self Only biweekly premiums will be $53.14
Self Plus One biweekly premiums will be $114.25 
Self and Family biweekly premiums will be $125.67

FEP BlueVision Premiums in 2019
High Option: 
Self Only biweekly premiums will be $5.40
Self Plus One biweekly premiums will be $10.79 
Self and Family biweekly premiums will be $16.19 

Standard Option: 
Self Only biweekly premiums will be $3.51
Self Plus One biweekly premiums will be $7.01 
Self and Family biweekly premiums will be $10.52 

The FEP BlueVision network consists of more than 75,000 ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians, as well as national and regional retailers. In-network coverage includes: annual eye exams with no co-pays; new glasses or contact lenses every 12 or 24 months; elective allowance for contact lenses; one-year warranty on frames and lenses; and discounts on laser eye surgery.  

FEP BlueDental Premiums in 2019 (the rates below are for FEP BlueDental’s most populous region, Region 1) 
High Option:
Self Only biweekly premiums will be $17.32
Self Plus One biweekly premiums will be $34.65 
Self and Family biweekly premiums will be $51.97

Standard Option: 
Self Only biweekly premiums will be $9.17
Self Plus One biweekly premiums will be $18.34 
Self and Family biweekly premiums will be $27.52 

FEP BlueDental rates depend upon the rate region in which a member lives. The FEP BlueDental network consists of more than 270,000 dentists, orthodontists and dental care providers nationwide. In-network coverage includes exams, cleanings, X-rays and sealants with no copays; fully covered white fillings; and no calendar-year deductible for most services. Under High Option, members have no waiting period for orthodontics and an unlimited annual benefit. 

Additional information about 2019 benefits is available on FEP’s website at www.fepblue.org/whatsnew. Members can also call the National Information Center at 1-800-411-BLUE (2583) for additional benefits information.
 

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit BCBS.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.