Reg Jones Expert's View

Open Season (running November 12 – December 10) isn’t just about the Federal Employees Health Benefits program and the options available to you. FEDVIP and FSAFEDS should be part of your focus as well.

FEDVIP
If you are enrolled in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, you can continue that coverage, If you aren’t, you can enroll during the upcoming Open Season. Note that the providers may be different from your FEHB provider. FEDVIP always pays benefits secondary to any vision or dental benefits under your FEHB coverage.

Another difference between the FEHB and FEDVIP programs is that there isn’t any five-year rule for FEDVIP. A retiree can newly enroll in FEDVIP during any open season even if not previously in the program. (Note: If you are already enrolled in the program when you retire on an immediate annuity, your coverage will continue.)

If you decide to cancel your FEDVIP coverage, you can only do that during Open Season or if you are deployed on active duty.

To get comprehensive information about FEDVIP, go to www.benefeds.com or call 1-877-888-3337 (TTY 1-877-889-5680).

FSAFEDS
If you are an employee, you can enroll in the Flexible Spending Account program for 2019 during the upcoming Open Season. Sorry, retirees, you are not eligible.

You can elect a dependent care account of up to $5,000 (per couple) and/or a health care account of up to $2,650 (individually). Note: If you are in an FEHB plan with a high deductible/health savings account arrangement, you can have a variant “limited expense” health care account that covers only certain dental and vision-related costs.

Unlike in FEHB or FEDVIP, if you want one or both types of accounts, you have to make a new election each year.

You make contributions into those accounts on a pre-tax basis, although remember that the money can be used only for certain specific purposes. Check those carefully before you decide on an amount—it is possible to lose some of your money if your eligible expenses are below what you put in an account.

To get comprehensive information about FSAFEDS, go to www.fsafeds.com or call 1-877-372-3337 (TTY 1-866-353-8058).