OPM and USPS have posted similar reminders that the “Postal Service Health Benefits Program” created by the wide-ranging Postal Service reform law enacted earlier this year will not take effect until 2025.
That program will replace FEHB coverage for postal employees, annuitants and eligible family members but they “may continue to participate in the FEHB Program for the 2022, 2023, and 2024 plan years. Their current FEHB enrollment will continue unless they make any changes prior to January 2025. OPM and the Postal Service will continue to provide updates leading up to the 2024 PSHB Open Season,” it says.
“The first opportunity to select a PSHB plan will take place during Open Season in late 2024, and coverage under the PSHB health benefits program coverage will begin January 2025,” it says. Those who do not enroll in a plan at that time “will automatically be enrolled in a PSHB plan”—under the law, that generally would be with the same carrier they have in the FEHB.
The posting comes ahead of what typically is an early-fall announcement of FEHB premium rates and plan terms for the following year, with an open season in early November-early December for choosing coverage.
Under the postal reform law, the PSHB would make the same plans available and on the same coverage terms as in the FEHB but with their premiums determined separately.
One major difference would be that future postal retirees would have to enroll in Medicare Part B when they become eligible, typically at age 65; current postal retirees would retain the option of not enrolling, as would current employees who are age 64 or older before the end of 2024.
The PSHB will not affect the FEGLI, FEDVIP or FLTCIP insurance programs nor the flexible spending account program, the posting say.