FEHBP is generally available to employees, annuitants, and their dependents. Eligible individuals may elect coverage in an approved health benefits plan for either individual or family coverage. For the 2013 plan year, there are about 230 different plan choices, including all regionally available options. As a practical matter, an individual’s choice of plans is often limited to 10 to 15 different plans, depending on where the individual resides. While enrollees have a range of choices, they typically decide which options best match their needs, the amount of their wages they will contribute to health insurance, and how risk-averse they are to potential out-of-pocket costs.
While most federal employees or annuitants reaching age 65 are automatically entitled to Medicare Part A, Medicare-eligible employees may also voluntarily choose to enroll in Medicare Part B and Part D. For individuals covered under a FEHBP plan as an annuitant, Medicare is the primary payer and FEHBP is the secondary payer. As a secondary payer, FEHBP could cover a share of Medicare deductibles and coinsurance for any services that are covered by both plans, and FEHBP would continue to reimburse for its covered services that are not covered by Medicare.
FEHBP is administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which is statutorily given the authority to contract with qualified carriers offering plans and to prescribe regulations necessary to carry out the statute, among other duties. Some of OPM’s additional duties include coordinating the administration of FEHBP with employing offices, managing contingency reserve funds for the plans, and applying sanctions to health care providers according to the prescribed regulations.