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The OPM said it’s working to improve features for federal employees and retirees to compare FEHB plans, though it doesn’t expect to have those improvements in place until late next year. , potentially in time for this year’s opening season to select coverage in 2024.
The FEHB offers a wider choice of plans than private sector companies usually do for their employees, with about ten plans open to all, other national plans open to certain categories, as well as HMO plans (including the number varies by area, with more available in urban areas). However, differences in coverage terms between the many plans, as well as sub-options such as high-deductible plans, have also given the program a reputation for complexity, especially for people with specialized healthcare needs. .
In a recent update of ongoing strategic projects, OPM said that its current plan comparison tool was developed in 2002 and although it has been updated over time, “it is at the end of its lifecycle and unable to provide a versatile or comprehensive interface”.
“In 2020, there were 2.4 million page views, 1.6 million user sessions and 1.3 million unique views; however, it does not currently support the unique health benefit comparison needs of its users, including those in underserved communities,” he said.
The OPM said it is planning a “new state-of-the-art FEHB decision support tool that will provide eligible people with the information needed to compare plan benefits, provider networks, prescription costs and other important health information for them and their families.”
The new tool “will support government-wide improvements in health outcomes by supporting health literacy and providing a user-centric comparison of available health insurance benefits,” he said.
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