How can Checkbook's Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees help me?

Checkbook's Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees gives you vital shopping information that you cannot get from any other source. It tells you how much money you can save by changing—or by staying in—your FEHB plan. It summarizes thousands of facts about the plans to simplify your choice. We show employees and retirees how to save thousands of dollars in unnecessary costs. Federal agencies also save, over a thousand dollars on average, for every employee who switches to a lower-cost plan using our advice. The Guide provides:  

  • Ratings for all of the about 276 FEHB plans available to Federal employees and retirees, including about 18 national plans, over 260 health maintenance organization plans (HMOs) and other local options, including two dozen Consumer-Driven and High Deductible plan options, and special Medicare Advantage plans tailored to federal retirees. Wherever you live, we rate all the plans in your community.  
  • Ratings of plan costs that take into account premiums, catastrophic limits, and estimates of likely out-of-pocket costs for medical expenses of every kind. 
  • We compare plans for insurance value in dealing with unforeseen medical expenses, not just for the routine costs you can predict.  
  • We compare limits on out-of-pocket costs based on the actual coverage allowed by each plan, not just what the plan seems to say before you read the fine print. 
  • We rate plans for each coverage group employees in different pay systems, annuitants with or without Medicare, former spouses, families of various sizes, children at age 26, part-time employees, and former employees.  
  • We rate plans according to how well each covers low, average, or high medical expenses, analyzing coverage of all major types of cost.  
  • We adjust our estimates for the tax advantages that reduce the after-tax premium cost to most employees (but not retirees) by about one third.  
  • We provide information on coinsurance, copays and other cost sharing, so you can quickly determine whether a plan pays well for a benefit you need.  
  • We provide accurate estimates of potential exposure to catastrophic expense by adjusting plans' claimed limits on out-of-pocket expenses so they don't omit important categories of cost.  
  • We give you data on coverage features of each plan, including skilled nursing, dental, and hearing aid coverage.  
  • We address plan quality, and provide data on enrollee satisfaction with each plan's service. We provide in-depth results from an annual survey in which plan members rate their plans on ease of getting needed care, customer service, claims processing, and other factors.  
  • We rate FEDVIP dental and vision plans. We provide dollar estimates of likely dental costs, taking into account both premiums and out-of-pocket expense. We compare dental coverage in all FEHB plans, not just FEDVIP plans.  
  • We provide detailed consumer advice on which plan options work best in different situations, on plan advantages you may not have thought about, and on mistakes to avoid. 

As a result, the Guide gives you a solid basis for selecting the best health or dental plan for you and your family. Hundreds of thousands of employees and retirees have followed our advice over the years, and many of them have saved thousands of dollars a year by finding better coverage for lower premiums. There is no other source of plan comparisons or Open Season advice that provides even half of these features.

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