Health And Retirement Benefits For Most Federal Employees, Is What’s Keeping Them At Their Job. Sponsored by:Leslie “Kathy” Hollingsworth

The existing health and retirement benefits for employees are a significant incentive keeping them in the job, an OPM survey has shown.

The OPM survey, which is conducted biannually, is designed to solicit feedback on employee’s health, life insurance, retirement, and other benefits. 

About 70% of the survey respondents said their decision to take a government job was influenced by the ability to receive insurance through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. 80% said the insurance program influenced their decision to keep their job.

The OPM 2019 survey further revealed that the Federal retirement program has a similar impact on the recruitment and retention of federal employees.

According to the agency’s acting director, Michael Rigas, the program’s feedback is crucial in providing insight that will allow for continuous improvement in their services and operations.

Analysis Of The Survey

Amongst the programs, the Thrift Savings Plan had the highest rating, with 96% of the respondents describing it as “extremely important” or “important.” The Federal Retirement Annuity and Retiree health Benefits ranked second and third, respectively.

About 90% of the respondents to the survey described the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) as “greatly important,” while about 96% said the program meets their needs to a large extent. The survey also shows generational differences in how respondents view the health insurance program. 53% of millennials and 63% of Generation X say the FEHB program substantially meets their needs, while 70% of baby boomers say the program meets their needs to a “great extent.”

Millennials are more likely to switch from their FEHB plans, with 55% having considered a change within the last five years, compared to Generation X at 49% and baby boomers at 43%.

The Thrift Savings Plan ranked as the best bang for the bucks, with 88% of respondents describing the program as excellent or good. Both the Federal Employees Dental Insurance Program and the FEHB tied at second.

Despite relatively low enrollment, more than 90% of respondents say the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) meets their needs to a great extent or moderately. Employees blame lack of information and awareness for the low enrollment for FSAFEDS, and most say they are less likely to enroll.

Only 9% of the respondents enrolled in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP). The program has a mixed perception, with 67% of employees describing it as a good or excellent value.

Opinion on Programs That Should Be Introduced 

OPM also gauged employee’s interest in other retirement benefits that are not currently available. 48% of the respondents said they were more interested in disability insurance programs, which will protect their wages fully or partially when they are sick. Emergency child and dependent care and student loan programs ranked second and third, respectively.

The survey revealed mixed reactions from employees about their readiness for retirement. While 55% of the respondents have already figured how much they need to save for retirement, most employees are less confident in their ability to save for future expenses. 54% of the respondents were confident about their ability to save for basic needs in retirement, and 42% expressed uncertainty in their ability to save for their medical expenses.

Baby boomers at 65% are more confident of their retirement benefits, while millennials at 44% and Generation X at 53% also express confidence.

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Association describes the survey as encouraging. However, with over 2.7 million retirees enjoying these programs and their spouses, The NARFE urges OPM to find a way to include their views of its benefit in the survey.

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