Today I want to give you a head start on Open Season. Every year it begins on Monday of the second full week in November and continues through the Monday of the second full workweek in December. This year’s open season runs from November 12 through December10.

Open season applies to two programs that are open to all employees and retirees:

* Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB), and

* Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance (FEDVIP)

And one program that is only open to employees:

* Federal Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS)

During open season you can exercise your right to choice and elect coverage that you usually can’t do at any other time of the year. As OPM has wisely pointed out, “All health and dental plans are not alike. Failure to consider your health plan choices could leave you without the health care services or supplies you need or with a premium you can’t afford. Dental and/or vision coverage can fill in the gaps of any coverage you now have or pay for services you now don’t get.”

If you are already enrolled in FEHB and/or FEDVIP and are satisfied with your current coverage, you don’t have to do anything. Your enrollment will continue automatically. However, before you decide to stand pat, it would be a good idea to see if your plan is still participating in the program and if the benefits offered or the premiums have changed.

Next week, I’ll talk about your options for FEHB, FEDVIP and FSAFEDS and the rules governing your ability to carry that coverage into retirement.