Single Family FEHBP Best Buys

When it comes to shopping for health insurance, single federal workers and single retirees have the easiest time. That’s because they only have to consider the known or possible health needs next year for one person: Themselves.

Couples picking a health plan have twice as much to consider, including potential pregnancy, during the federal health insurance open season that runs through December 13th.

Families, whether you have one child or a dozen, have that much more to consider. While children’s medical costs typically are low, accidents happen.

But when it comes to shopping for best-buys (the most coverage for your insurance premium buck) insurance expert Walton Francis says premiums are only part of the story. You also need to focus on what the plans you are considering will and won’t cover.


His best buy system includes ratings for plans based on premiums and likely out of pocket costs if you have an easy, average or high-expense medical year. Using the “average” table he rates HM Kaiser standard and high option (average 2011 total cost to you $1,470 and $1,660), MD-IPA ($1,680 for premiums and out of pocket costs), and Aetna Basic where your total costs next year are projected to be $1,780.

  • Consumer Driven/High Deductible: Among the Consumer Driven and High Deductible plans Checkbook rates APWU CDHP as the least expensive (average total cost to you next year $1,120) with Aetna CDHP and Aetna HDHP and GEHA HDHP average total costs in the $1,300 to $1,400 range next year.
  • Fee For Service Plans: Among the nationwide plans, Checkbook rates Blue Cross basic, Foreign Service, APWUhigh option, Compass Rose (CIA) and GEHA standard as best buys. Your total cost if you have an average medical year in 2011 ranges from $1,760 to $1,980 including premiums and out of pocket costs.

Coming up: Best buys for families, for retirees with and without Medicare and for people (like ex-spouses) who must pay the full premium.

More Questions Answered

So what about family plans or new coverage for children 26 and under? What is a Consumer Driven plan and who (and why) would you consider buying a health plan with a high deductible? And where do Flexible Spending Accounts figure in your health plan shopping list?

Today at 10 a.m. Walton Francis will be my guest on Your Turn with Mike Causey radio show. You can listen online at or in the D.C. area at AM 1500. If you have questions for the expert you can call 202.465.3080. You can also e-mail questions to me at:

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