A health reimbursement arrangement plan helped the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program hold down costs in 2006.

Overall FEHBP premium growth has slowed to 1.8% this year, down from 6.4% in 2006 and a peak of about 13% in 2002, according to researchers at the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The only major FEHBP plan that cut premiums in 2006 was the American Postal Workers Union Health Plan HRA plan.

The postal workers HRA plan cut premiums 1.9% in 2006, and it averaged annual premium growth of just 3.6% from 2004 to 2006, GAO researchers report.

The only other major FEHBP plan that had better results was the Blue Cross Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan basic option plan, , which held average annual premium growth to 2.9% from 2004 to 2006.

A copy of the GAO report is on the Web at Document Link