Fedweek

Monday (December 14) is the last day of the current open season for electing or changing coverage in FEHB and FEDVIP for the 2021 plan (calendar) year of each program.

If current enrollees make no changes, they will retain the same coverage next year, subject to new premium rates and coverage terms. In practice, only single-digit percentages change plans, levels of coverage within plans that have more than one, or type of enrollment (between family coverage and self plus one, for example).

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Overall, coverage terms in both programs will be largely stable. While the enrollee share of FEHB premiums on average is increasing by 4.9 percent, within that average there are wide variations. Also, there are some coverage differences that could be important to an individual, and as health care needs change another plan might be a better choice.

Before the deadline, experts advise that enrollees should, at the minimum: make sure that their plan is remaining available (there are some dropouts); review their plan’s benefits package (plan brochures contain a page highlighting changes from the prior year); understand what is happening with premiums and out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and copays; check if their preferred physicians and other care providers remain available in networks under the plan; and look into the costs and terms of other plans available to them at least enough to see whether they merit a closer look.

In the FEDVIP program premiums are also largely stable in the pre-existing dental plans and vision plans but there are new plans in each category to consider, as well.

In contrast to the FEHB and FEDVIP programs, a new enrollment is required each year for those who want a health care flexible spending account, a dependent care account, or both in the following year. The dependent care maximum remains $5,000 while the health care maximum remains $2,750. Also, you must have a health care account in the following year to take advantage of the $550 allowable carry-over in that type of account.

FEHB Changes for 2021

2021 FEHB, FEDVIP Rates

Picking the Best FEHB Plan

Taking FEHB into Retirement Without a Hitch

ask.FEDweek.com: FEHB and Medicare Coverage

ask.FEDweek.com: FEHB – Federal Employee Health Benefits

2021 Federal Employees Handbook