Open Season for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program runs from November 14 through December 12. When that Open Season window opens, currently enrolled employees and retirees can change plans and options, or, if they’re happy, stay where they are. And employees who aren’t currently enrolled in the FEHB program can enroll.

This annual opportunity gives you a chance to assess your medical needs for the coming year before you make a decision.

In some cases, you already know what you and your family will need in the way of coverage for the coming year; for example, dental work, glasses, child birth, chemotherapy, surgery, etc. In others, you suspect that a need for serious medical care lies on the horizon, either for you or someone in your family. Remember, there is no such thing as a pre-existing condition limitation in the FEHB.

Or, you may think in terms of the worst things that can happen to you or your loved ones next year and want to pick a plan that will give you maximum coverage.

Once you know what kind of protection you either need or think you need, you’ll be in a good position to review the coverage being offered by each plan and compare that with the premiums you’d have to pay to get it.

Fortunately, the FEHB program has a wide variety of benefit choices offered at different premiums levels. When you review your open season materials, you’ll be ready to weigh the costs and benefits of each plan and option and make a sound decision.

Note: If you are a long-time enrollee in a plan, you might think that being a loyal customer and staying with the same plan will get you preferential treatment. That isn’t the case. Whether you’ve been enrolled for the last decade or will be enrolling for the first time, you’ll be treated the same way under the plan’s contract.