Resources to Help You Prepare for Benefits Open Season

By on August 23, 2016 in Human Resources, Pay & Benefits with 6 Comments

Employee benefits documents with highlighted text

The Office of Personnel Management has released resources for federal employees to start preparing for the upcoming Federal Benefits Open Season, which runs from Monday, November 14, 2016 through Monday, December 12, 2016.

Resources

OPM released several documents to help federal employees start the research and planning process for selecting their benefits. These include:

Other announcements

OPM also provided the following information about the upcoming open season:

Open season opportunities

During the annual Open Season, employees can take the actions listed below for the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS), Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), and the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.

  • Enroll in a flexible spending account (FSA) – a health care and/or dependent care account, under the FSAFEDS Program. Unlike with other programs, employees MUST reenroll in FSAFEDS each year to participate. Enrollments DO NOT automatically continue from year to year.
    • Carryover has been adopted for health care and limited expense health care FSAs. Participants that are enrolled in one of these FSAs in 2016 will be able to bring up to $500 of unspent funds from 2016 into 2017. Participants must re-enroll for the 2017 Benefit Period to be eligible for carryover. Remember, there is no longer a grace period for these two accounts.
    • The maximum annual election for a Health Care Flexible Spending Account and the Limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account is $2550 for the 2017 Benefit Period.
    • The minimum election for the flexible spending accounts is $100 for the 2017 Benefit Period.
    • The maximum annual election for a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account is $5000 per household for the 2017 Benefit Period. There is no carryover for this account, but there is still a grace period.
  • Enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a dental plan under the FEDVIP Program.
  • Enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a vision plan under the FEDVIP Program.
  • Enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a health plan under the FEHB Program.

Enrollment options following the termination of a plan or plan option

Benefits Administration Letter 16-202 – Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program

Enrollment Options Following the Termination of a Plan or Plan Option Final Rule Published, clarifies the actions that employing agencies may take when an enrollee fails to make an enrollment election during the time period provided.

Employing agencies will automatically enroll individuals who do not make an enrollment election during the allotted time period into one of the following: in the event of a plan option termination, the lowest cost remaining plan option provided by the same carrier that is not a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP); or, in the event of a plan termination, into the lowest cost nationwide plan available.

OPM will announce the lowest-cost nationwide plan during the Open Season rollout when rates for the following year are publically released.

Federal employees who have questions about their agency’s specific programs or what benefits may be best for them should contact their servicing human resources office for assistance.

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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