Running the month of February is a special “limited enrollment period” in the FEHB program during which actively employed family plan enrollees who pay premiums with pre-tax money will be allowed to downgrade to self plus one. The self plus one option first became available in the recently concluded open season and was effective with this year. But even before that season started, OPM announced the availability of this special period, anticipating that some people who would benefit from switching would not do so and then wish they had. Self plus one is of most interest to those with only one eligible family member such as a married couple with no eligible children or a single parent with one eligible child (note: enrollees with more than one eligible family member can enroll in it and designate which one would receive coverage). During the upcoming period, the only change allowed will be for employees with family enrollments who pay premiums under the premium conversion arrangement to decrease to self plus one within the same plan. Otherwise, they will have to wait until this fall’s open season for 2017, unless they experience certain life events, such as a couple whose last eligible child ages out of eligibility. Those who don’t pay premiums pre-tax–meaning retirees plus the small segment of active employees who decline premium conversion–can downgrade coverage at any time. Enrollment changes are made by filing a new health benefits election, the SF 2809, or its electronic equivalent.
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