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OPM seeks more competition for employee health plans

The Washington Post, August 9, 2012

The Obama administration is considering fundamental changes to the Federal Employees Health Benefits program (FEHB). Yet, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) thinks the good thing could be even better by giving workers more choice in health insurance companies. The OPM is getting an assist, perhaps unintended, in its argument from Health Affairs, a health policy journal. Health Affairs says that although insurance plans are widely available in FEHB, "enrollment was concentrated in plans owned by just a few organizations, typically Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans." Health insurance premiums, the article continued, were lower "where competition was extremely high" and higher "where competition was extremely low."