NARFE NewsWatch
Oct. 14, 2014

FEHBP premiums will rise 3.2 percent in 2015
The Office of Personnel Management announced the average Federal Employees Health Benefits Program premium increase will be 3.2 percent in 2015, with the average employee and retiree share increasing 3.8 percent. Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, commented that the increase "will take another bite out of the already diminished paychecks of middle-class federal employees across the country. "While the 3.2 percent increase in health insurance premiums is in line with the private sector, any increase means reduced take-home pay for federal employees, who, at most, will receive a 1 percent pay raise next year," Beaudoin said.More

Survivor annuity
Question: Both my spouse and I are retired federal employees. If I predecease my husband or he predeceases me, may we receive more than one annuity?More

Good Medicare news for seniors: Part B premiums and deductibles to stay level
The Plain Dealer
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that premiums and deductibles for Medicare Part B, which pays for doctor visits and outpatient services, will go unchanged again in 2015. They have not changed in the past two years, due in part to stable healthcare costs after years of climbing annually.More

USPS wants to test grocery delivery service
The United States Postal Service has asked the Postal Regulatory Commission for authority to expand a test with Amazon into a broader test to include delivery of groceries, the USPS inspector general has said. More

OPM takes baby steps toward reducing retirement backlog in September
Government Executive
The retirement claims backlog continued to drop incrementally in September, according to the latest statistics from the Office of Personnel Management. OPM received 6,350 new retirement applications in September, 950 less than expected. The backlog is now at 12,767 claims — 330 fewer claims than in August.More

Washington allows employee health insurance to cover transgender services
The Washington Post
The State Department, which has been on the leading edge of policies affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender federal employees, is eliminating the "transgender exclusion" from the agency's largest health insurance program. Insurance policies under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program generally exclude services "related to sex reassignment." In practice, this transgender exclusion "denies coverage to transgender people for the same treatments available to non-transgender policy holders, without regard to medical necessity," the State Department said in a statement to the Federal Diary.More

5 overspending triggers that can sabotage your budget
U.S. News & World Report
No matter how practical you are with money, there are times when your budget is at risk of getting hijacked. There are spending triggers everywhere, tempting us to ditch our budgets and splurge on things we don't need. The good news is that most of these common triggers can be avoided or overcome with some simple techniques. Avoid sabotaging your budget. Protect yourself against five of the biggest overspending danger zones. More

Even decaf coffee may help the liver
HealthDay News via WebMD
Another study suggests that coffee might actually be healthy for your liver, and that even decaffeinated coffee may have this effect. Prior research had suggested that drinking coffee may help protect the organ, but the new study suggests caffeine might not be the active ingredient at work.More

Holistic holidays: Wellness cruise vacations
USA Today
Taking a cruise is not all about gorging at the buffet and otherwise overindulging. There is also opportunity to focus on health and wellness on the high seas. Cruise ships have expansive fitness centers where you can get a decent workout, fun fitness classes, topflight spas and healthy cuisine options – plus outdoor areas where you can jog or walk. More

How to reinvent yourself in retirement
USA Today
Most people today view retirement as an opportunity to begin a new chapter in their lives, "not a time to wind down and move off the playing field," says gerontologist Ken Dychtwald, 64, the CEO of Age Wave, a research think-tank on aging issues. They are trying to figure out new ways to be productive. "Many are wondering: 'What can I do with this stage of my life that is perhaps my highest purpose?'" says Dychtwald, who is also a psychologist. He has written 16 books on aging, health and retirement issues.More

Experts: Scammers are exploiting Ebola fears
With the death toll from the Ebola virus now having topped 4,000 people – including one fatality in the United States – consumer advocates have been warning of scams that take advantage of people's fears about the disease.More