How to Compare FEHB Plan Costs

We rate and compare health plans based on their likely cost to you, taking into account your pay system, employment or retirement status, family size, age, health status, location, and other factors. A key element of our ratings are estimates of likely out-of-pocket costs under each plan, based on actuarial estimates of the size and likelihood of low, average, and high spending for families of different sizes and ages. Our ratings also reflect varying premium levels and tax situations faced by different eligibility groups. Full time employees pay lower premiums than retirees because of tax advantages, and far lower premiums than those who must pay the entire premium. Postal union members and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) employees pay less because the government pays a higher share than for GS employees and retirees. Neither retirees nor those who pay full premiums obtain "Premium Conversion" tax advantages. These premium cost differences can reach thousands of dollars a year. We provide separate ratings for each group.

Cost comparisons are presented in summary form with additional viewing options that provide more detailed cost comparisons.

Our comparisons take into account not only premiums and potential health care costs, but also plan financial features such as Health Savings Accounts and Wellness benefits that involve cash rewards. We also include dental benefits built into some health plans and, separate from our health plan analysis, the costs and benefits of standalone dental plans. For annuitants, our estimates and comparisons also take into account both Medicare benefits and Medicare premiums, depending on choices about Medicare enrollment. We also allow for comparisons for those using Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). In summary, we provide a comprehensive set of financial comparisons that allow users to make "apple to apple" comparisons of costs for both premiums and likely health care expenses under each plan and across all plans.