Fedweek

The federal benefits open season begins Monday (November 9) and runs through December 14, the annual opportunity to make changes in FEHB health insurance and FEDVIP vision-dental insurance coverage.

As earlier announced, the enrollee share of FEHB premiums will rise 4.9 percent on average; however, there is variation among plans and premiums in some are essentially flat or decreasing somewhat. There will be 276 plan choices—a net three fewer after some dropouts and additions—18 fee for service plan choices open to all, four available only to certain groups, and 254 HMO plan choices available regionally. Among the total are 18 high deductible health plan and 28 consumer driven health plan options.

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FEDVIP premiums will be essentially flat for continuing plans; there will be two new dental plans for a total of 12 and one new vision plan for a total of five. All vision plans are national while some of the dental plans are only regional.

In addition to changing plans, the open season allows for changes in levels of coverage within a plan, for those with more than one, and for changes in types of coverage among self-only, self plus one and self and family. Active employees not already enrolled can newly enroll in either program; retirees can newly enroll in FEDVIP, although not in FEHB unless they are working as reemployed annuitants.

In both programs an existing enrollment will continue next year unless changed, subject to the new premium rates and any changes in benefits.

However, those who wish to have a dependent care and/or health care flexible spending account in 2021 must make a new election during the open season. Maximums are $5,000 for dependent care accounts and $2,750 for health care accounts.

The open season does not apply to the other two federal insurance programs, the FEGLI life insurance program and the FLTCIP long-term care insurance program. The former conducts rare open seasons, although new enrollments or coverage changes are allowed in certain circumstances at other times. The FLTCIP is open to new applications for enrollments or coverage changes at any time, subject to underwriting.

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