Reg Jones Expert's View

Once again it’s Open Season time. Running from November 14 through December 12, it gives federal employees and retirees a chance to think about their health, dental, vision, and tax-saving needs and to make changes to or enroll in one of those programs.

Participating this year are the following programs:

• Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB),

• Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance (FEDVIP), and

• Federal Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS)

Why should you care about Open Season? Well, OPM has done a good job of explaining why, Here’s what they have to say:

Open Season is the time to make elections you usually can’t make any other time of the year. All health and dental plans are not alike. Open Season is about exercising your right to choice. Failure to consider your health plan choices could leave you without the health care services or supplies you need or with a premium you can’t afford. Dental and/or vision coverage can fill in the gaps of any coverage you now have or pay for services you now don’t get. A flexible spending account [available only to employees] lets you save money and pay less tax.

FYI: If you are already enrolled in FEHB and/or FEDVIP and are happy with your current coverage, you don’t have to do anything. Your enrollment(s) will continue automatically. However, before you decide to sit on your hands, you should check to see if your plan is still participating in the program and if the benefits offered or the premiums have changed.

Next week, I’ll talk about your options for FEHB, FEDVIP and FSAFEDS and the rules governing your ability to carry that coverage into retirement.