The open season is an annual event, although this year it follows several unusual developments in benefits. Premium rates for FEHB and FEDVIP plans are routinely announced well in advance of the open season, most commonly in September. There will be no major changes in FEHB choices this year, in contrast to last year’s launch of the self plus one option for the 2016 plan year, and OPM required only relatively minor changes in benefits in its instructions to plans early in the year. FEDVIP options and benefits meanwhile are largely stable year to year, and the maximum election for a dependent care FSA account will remain $5,000 and the maximum for a health care FSA account will remain $2,550, with the minimum for each remaining at $100. In both FEHB and FEDVIP enrollments continue year to year unless changed, while a new enrollment is required each year for FSA accounts. Through the end of August, the FSA program is not accepting new claims due to a change in providers, although terms of the program are not changing. Ahead, covering all of September, is a rare open season in the FEGLI life insurance program in which active employees (but not retirees) can newly enroll or increase existing coverage. Meanwhile the FLTCIP long-term care program is holding an “enrollee decision period” continuing through September in which those who enrolled before August 2015 and who are facing premium increases—some 100 percent or more–effective in November can restructure their coverage if they wish. That includes in most cases stopping premiums and electing a much-reduced paid-up benefit. Applications for new enrollments or increases in coverage are allowed at any time for both active and retired employees in that program.
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