Last week I encouraged you to start thinking about the upcoming Open Season. That article focused on the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, the one in which the vast majority of you are enrolled in or covered by. And it’s the one where the premiums are subsidized by the federal government. This time I want to get you to focus on two other programs, for which you pay the entire freight: FEDVIP and FSAFEDS.
If you are already enrolled in FEDVIP, you can continue that coverage. If you aren’t, you can enroll during any Open Season. In either case, you’ll need to find out who the FEDVIP dental and vision providers are, since they may be different from your FEHB providers. This is important because FEHB is the primary payer and FEDVIP the secondary payer.
FYI. Unlike the FEHB program. there isn’t any five-year rule for FEDVIP. If you are already enrolled in the program, your coverage will continue if you retire on an immediate annuity, regardless of how long you’ve been enrolled. You also can newly enroll after retirement, unlike in FEHB.
Reader alert. If you decide to cancel your FEDVIP coverage, you can only do that during Open Season or if you are deployed on active duty.
According to OPM, “FSAFEDS allows you to save money for health care expenses…Think of it as a savings account that helps you pay for items that typically aren’t covered by your FEHB plan, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, or other health insurance coverage…The money contributed to your FSAFEDS account is set aside before taxes are deducted, so in most cases you save about 30% on your federal taxes.”
Unlike FEHB and FEDVIP, you have to re-enroll in FSAFEDS each Open Season—enrollment doesn’t carry over from one year to another. You can choose a dependent care account and/or a health care account. In certain situations, you may be eligible for only a “limited expense” health care account.
If you want to get comprehensive information about both of these programs, go to www.opm.gov/insure/health and click on Dental & Vision or Flexible Spending Accounts.
Open Season Elections
For FFEDVIP, go to www.benefeds.com or call 1-877-888-3337 (TTY 1-877-889-5680).
For FSAFEDS (employees only), go to www.fsafeds.com or call 1-877-372-3337 (TTY 1-800-952-0450).