Federal workers' healthcare premiums to rise 3.4 percent

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The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents about 150,000 federal employees, said any increase will hit workers hard because Congress has frozen their salaries.

“Despite what some politicians and commentators would lead you to believe, federal employees do contribute to their health insurance costs and those contributions rise year after year,” union President Colleen Kelley said in a statement.

Federal workers get their health benefits through a program similar to the new insurance exchanges established by President Obama's healthcare law. OPM operates a marketplace where workers can choose among several private insurance plans that meet certain minimum standards.

Once the healthcare law is fully in effect in 2014, lawmakers and their staffs will have to buy coverage through an exchange instead of using the system for federal employees.