The Office of Personnel Management has finally found a carrier to occupy its Indemnity Benefit Plan healthcare contract after decades of the codified nationwide plan being unsupported by a healthcare provider.

The Government Employees Health Association announced Aug. 8, that it had been selected as the exclusive carrier for two nationwide plans under the IBP contract. Those plans will be offered as part of the Federal Employee Health Benefit open season for 2020.

“GEHA will fill a slot that has been vacant for 30 years in the FEHB program and increase the availability of nationwide health plan offerings for federal employees and annuitants,” said Edward M. DeHarde, assistant director of federal employee insurance operations at OPM, in a news release.

“We look forward to working with GEHA to provide additional quality, affordable options from which FEHB program members can choose.”

Under U.S. Code, the IBP insurance offers benefits for six kinds of healthcare needs: hospital care, surgical care and treatment, medical care and treatment, obstetrical benefits, prescribed drugs, medicines and prosthetic devices, and other medical supplies and services.

OPM announced in 2018 that it had plans to find a carrier for the long-vacant IBP contract, but that was not a guarantee of success, as a 2008 attempt to find a carrier for that contract fell through and left it unfilled for another decade.

“The Elevate plans are specifically designed to help members achieve the health they need to live the lives they want,” said Darren Taylor, GEHA president and CEO, in a news release.

“We are excited to enhance our collaboration with OPM and continue to partner with our federal employee members on their health and wellness journeys.”

GEHA currently already offers three fee for service healthcare plans under FEHB.

According to the news release, both GEHA and OPM will be releasing more information in the new plans in the coming months.

Open season for federal employee healthcare will run from Nov. 11 to Dec. 9 for 2019.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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