This week, federal workers across the country begin choosing their health insurance coverage for 2015 through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program–a system often called the “gold standard” for choosing affordable health insurance. At Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee program (FEP®), we work hard to ensure that federal workers have access to high-quality, affordable coverage, and that our customer service is second to none. We know federal employees have many choices—at least 15 choices, no matter where they live in the United States. In some states, they can choose from more than three dozen health coverage options. Amid all this competition, we’re proud that FEP is the top choice of federal workers, retirees and their families. We’re working every day to keep the trust we’ve earned since we began serving federal workers at the inception of their health insurance program in 1960. FEP offers comprehensive benefits at affordable prices while providing federal employees broad access to BCBS companies’ innovative care-delivery programs, aimed at rewarding quality care and improving outcomes for patients while reducing costly duplication and waste in care delivery. In 2015, for the fourth consecutive year, premiums for FEP’s Standard Option – the most popular choice–– will increase by only three percent or less. At the same time, we’re enhancing benefits and reducing out-of-pocket costs. For example, out-of-pocket expenses for urgent care services are being reduced for Basic Option and for Standard Option. Members can also earn up to $85, more money than last year, towards a health account to use for qualified medical expenses after completing an enhanced Blue Health Assessment (BHA) and achieving personal health goals. A key reason we’re able to consistenly keep premiums affordable – while providing secure and stable coverage – is that federal employees and retirees have access to the same state-of-the-art Blue Cross and Blue Shield programs used by 86 of the Fortune 100 companies. Our broad portfolio of innovative care programs includes accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes, pay-for-performance programs and episode-based payment programs. These programs focus on coordinating patient care to keep chronic conditions in check. They’ve resulted in reductions in unnecessary emergency room visits, hospital admissions and readmissions as well as other costly, unneeded medical interventions. Providing exceptional service to federal employees, retirees and their families is at the very core of our mission. We look forward to continuing that mission long into the future.