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OPM chief: Affordable health benefits key to talented workforce

Mar. 27, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Sean Archuleta MWM 20130716
Katherine Archuleta, shown here during her 2013 confirmation hearing, touted health insurance as a key factor on which the federal government must remain competitive with the private sector. (Mike Morones/Staff)

A robust health insurance plan is critical for attracting a talented scientists, researchers and engineers into federal careers, Office of Personnel Management director Katherine Archuleta said Thursday.

“When we talk to the engineer who will discover the newest technology or recuiritng the researcher who will find the next cure for cancer we can assure them that included in their federal benefits is affordable health insurance on par with any other employer,” Archuleta said, speaking at the 2014 Federal Employee Health Benefits conference.

OPM has managed to keep the growth in costs in the FEHB program below 4 percent. she said, but the agency and insurance companies must do more to manage prescription drug costs. That accounts for 25 percent of health care spending.

She said insurers must also step up efforts to incentivize and enroll federal employees in wellness plans that can help curb more expensive and damaging health problems.

“We must do all we can to keep the federal workforce well,” Archuleta said.

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