OPM provides tools to explain the federal Open Season


The Office of Personnel Management has released a series of tools and factsheets to help federal employees navigate policies and changes in this year's Open Season when they can change their enrollment in health insurance plans.

The current Open Season went into effect Nov. 12 and will last through Dec. 10, with any enrollment changes going into effect in the first pay period of 2013. Eligible employees are also allowed to apply for new coverage.

For those looking to change their benefits, OPM has developed a checklist (.pdf) for federal employees to use.

It also includes tips such as people using Federal Flexible Spending Account Programs must reapply for them during the Open Season since FSA enrollment does not automatically carry over. On the other hand, Federal Employees Health Benefits and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program require no action for an employee to re-enroll.

OPM also warns that employees covered under TRICARE but not enrolled in FEHB should look carefully at their plans. TRICARE coverage terminates when an employee becomes eligible for Medicare (usually age 65), so these individuals may want to "enroll in an FEHB plan during the Open Season before you retire as a civilian Federal employee so that you may continue the FEHB coverage into retirement."

FEHB provides around $45 billion in health care benefits each year for 8.2 million federal employees and their dependents as well as retirees, and will offer 230 different plan options for 2013, since OPM has added five new health plans.

OPM has published a series of "FastFacts" that provide answers to the most commonly asked questions in most coverage areas. It will also host a webinar that covers FEDVIP at 1:30 p.m. EST on Nov. 13 and one for FSAFEDS on Nov. 15 at the same time.

OPM announced in Sept., that FEHB premiums will increase an average of 3.4 percent while FEDVIP premiums will increase by less than 1 percent.  In May, FEHB plans began covering eligible tribes and tribal organizations and as of Sept., OPM says 3254 tribal employees were enrolled.

For more:
- download OPM's full resources guide (.pdf)
- look at the 2013 Guide to Federal Benefits
- use OPM's policy comparison tool

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