Fedweek

Insurance elections made during the recent benefits open season also take effect in January–as of the first of the month for retirees and as of the start of the first full pay period of the month for active employees. Rates will reflect the new premiums in each plan, and changes in plans or changes in options elected under the FEHB and FEDVIP programs–and for active employees, new enrollments in the FEHB and in the flexible spending account program (FSA elections are effective as of January 1). Retirees are ineligible for FSAs and generally may not newly enroll in the FEHB, although they may newly enroll in FEDVIP. During February, active employees will have a further opportunity in what is called a special enrollment period–technically, not an open season–to downgrade from family to self plus one coverage within their FEHB plan. That is the only type of election that will be allowed. About 600,000 open season enrollment changes were made in last fall’s open season, exceeding the previous record of 430,000 in the prior year, an increase largely due to the addition of the self plus one option. Also, certain premium rates are changing in the FEGLI life insurance program effective with the start of the year.