Fedweek

The open season for changing plans or levels or types of coverage—and for active employees to join—will be November 11-December 9.

The enrollee share of FEHB premiums will rise 5.6 percent on average for 2020 while premiums in the FEDVIP vision-dental insurance program are rising on average by 5.6 percent for dental plans and by 1.5 percent for vision plans.

As always there will substantial variation within the overall average, with higher increases in some plans and the costs in some others essentially flat or decreasing a bit. For non-postal employees in the largest FEHB plan, Blue Cross/Blue Shield standard, biweekly enrollee rates for self-only are increasing $4.68 to $116.91, for self plus one by $10.61 to $267.15 and for family coverage by $18.53 to $286.74.

Retirees pay premiums at the same rates, but monthly rather than biweekly. Premiums for Postal Service employees, but not for its retirees, are slightly lower due to contract terms.

New to the program will be an “indemnity benefit plan” offered by Government Employees Health Association, marking the return of that type of plan for the first time since 1989. In those plans, an enrollee may choose any health care provider but may have to pay a portion of the charge and, if it exceeds “usual and customary” rates, the difference. For example, self-only coverage will cost enrollees $47.32 biweekly in the lower option and $72.67 in the higher option.

The open season for changing plans or levels or types of coverage—and for active employees to join—will be November 11-December 9. Similar policies apply to the FEDVIP program except that unlike in the FEHB, retirees are eligible to newly enroll.

While the government pays about 70 percent of the total cost of FEHB premiums, FEDVIP premiums are at the enrollee’s sole cost.

In both of those programs, an enrollment will continue next year unless changed. That is not the case with the flexible spending account program; those who wish to have a dependent care and/or health care account in 2020 must make a new election during the open season. Further, to take advantage of the allowed carryover of up to $500 of unspent health care account money from one year to the next an employee must have an account in the second year. Maximums currently are $5,000 for dependent care accounts and $2,700 for health care accounts; the latter figure may rise slightly for 2020 with an inflation adjustment that is yet to be announced.

Read more on FEHB and FEDVIP at ask.FEDweek.com