A low medical loss ratio has helped the plans in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program hold the average 2007 premium increase to 1.8%.

Premiums will hold steady or decline for 63% of FEHBP enrollees and increase 5% or less for another 15%, according to officials at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

In 2006, the average premium increase was 6.6%.

The total number of plan choices will increase to 284, from 279.

OPM also is adding a voluntary dental and vision benefits program.