Health & Safety

November 13, 2015
 

It’s time to review your federal health benefits

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John O'Brien
OPM, Healthcare and Insurance director

NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB held a federal benefits fair Nov. 5. Representatives from healthcare organizations such as Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente were on hand to pass out information. Open season to sign up for federal health benefits, or to add or change plans, runs through Dec. 14, 2015.

Federal benefits open season is here.
Each year we encourage all employees and retirees to review their benefits and make sure that they have plans that work best for them and their families.
From today through Dec. 14, employees and retirees can review and update their health dental, and vision choices. Eligible employees who are not currently enrolled can also select plans for the first time. Retirees not currently enrolled in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program can also select dental and vision plans for the first time during open season.
The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program covers more than 8.2 million employees, retirees and their families all across the country. For 2016, there will be 252 health plan choices available, with 11 of them available nationwide. 
Beginning in 2016, all carriers will offer three enrollment types: Self Only, Self Plus One, and Self and Family. This year is your first opportunity to enroll in Self Plus One, which allows you to cover yourself and one eligible family member, such as a spouse or child.
As always, you are encouraged to look at all available health, dental and vision plans and decide which ones best meet the needs of you and your family, as everyone’s needs are different. If you decide that your current coverage still works for you, you don’t have to do anything. Your benefits will remain in place for next year.
If you are eligible to sign up for the FEHB Program, you can also participate in FSAFEDS, the health and dependent care flexible spending account program. These accounts allow employees to set aside pre-tax money to pay for eligible health and dependent care expenses, such as co-pays, prescription costs and childcare.
Two changes were made to Health Care FSAs last year. Employees can enroll with just $100 contribution. Also, participants can re-enroll and carry over up to $500 of unused FSA money into the following year. This means that you won’t have to forfeit money you don’t use by the end of the calendar year.
If you want to participate in FSAFEDS, be sure to sign-up by Dec. 14. When it comes to FSAFEDS, everyone must re-enroll on an annual basis. 
Don’t forget, employees and retirees have until Dec. 14 to make their choices. For more information about the Federal benefits open season and to find the right option for you, visit www.opm.gov/openseason.




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