Next Monday (December 12) is the last day of the current open season for electing or changing coverage in the FEHB and FEDVIP programs for next year. If enrollees make no changes they will retain the same coverage next year, subject to new premium rates and coverage terms. Before the deadline arrives, experts advise that enrollees should, at the minimum: make sure that their plan is remaining available (five are dropping out); review the plan’s benefits package (plan brochures contain a page highlighting changes from the prior year); understand what is happening with premiums and out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and copays; check if their preferred physicians and other care providers remain available in networks under the plan; and look into the costs and terms of other plans available to them at least enough to see whether they merit a closer look. Overall, coverage terms in both programs for 2017 are largely stable, as are out-of-pocket costs, but there are some differences that could be important to an individual. Further, as health care needs change another plan might be a better choice. Also, OPM has encouraged enrollees with only one eligible family member and who have family coverage to consider switching to self plus one, a new option introduced last year; self plus one is less expensive in most cases, although there are some plans where the difference is insignificant or family coverage is actually less expensive to the enrollee.
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