The annual announcement of premiums and plan offerings in FEHB for the upcoming plan year–that is, calendar year–typically is made in September. That announcement, which follows negotiations between OPM and the carriers over the summer, is made well in advance of the opportunity to join the program or to change coverage, which occurs during the annual open season, this year running November 13-December 11.
While the announcement includes rates and general coverage changes, specifics of plan offerings commonly aren’t available until a few weeks prior to the open season.
The open season allows FEHB-eligible persons to enroll and allows those already enrolled to change plans, change among self-only, self plus one and family enrollment, or change levels of coverage. Similar options are available in the FEDVIP vision-dental insurance program, and employees may sign up for flexible spending accounts for the upcoming calendar year, as well.
Earlier this year in its annual “call letter” OPM told carriers to continue stressing cost-control steps, particularly regarding prescription drugs, and with special emphasis on those that are especially expensive. It also encouraged carriers to expand telehealth services; better inform enrollees about the potential costs of out of network treatment; and do more to help enrollees manage diabetes, among other steps.