The annual announcement of premiums and plan offerings in FEHB for the upcoming plan year–that is, calendar year–typically is made in September. That announcement, which follows negotiations between OPM and the carriers over the summer, comes well in advance of the annual open season opportunity to join the program or to change coverage, which this year runs November 9-December 14. OPM recently sent a notice to agencies telling them to prepare to send out informational materials later this month. It noted that the major change for the 2016 plan year will be the addition of a self plus one option to the current self-only and self and family coverage options, stressing once again that family eligibility rules are not changing. The rates announcement will be the first indicator of how premium rates for that new option will compare with the self-only and family options. It’s generally expected that current family coverage enrollees with only one eligible family member–such as a couple with no children under the age 26 cutoff, or a single parent with one eligible child–will migrate to it, causing far more enrollment changes during the open season than usual.
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