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Thanks for posting your comment, Barbara. We in the TRA have no inside information about the answer to your question. If your friend is still an employee, I wonder if it’s possible that the difference is caused by the company subsidizing his health premiums more than they have chosen to for retirees.
I, too, was surprised at the increase in our net premiums. It has lead us to look at switching from the Premium to the Value plan. The description wasn’t very clear, but I think the difference is a much higher deductible for out-of-network care in the Value plan, but much lower monthly premiums.