OPM Begins Providing Information on 2017 Open Season

August 3, 2017 3:50 PM , Updated March 19, 2018 11:37 AM
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Door with open sign hanging on it next to the words '2017 federal benefits open season'

This year’s federal benefits open season will run from Monday, November 13, 2017 through Monday, December 11, 2017. While that may seem like a long way away, the Office of Personnel Management wants federal employees to be prepared and has started issuing materials to help them do so.

A recent benefits administration letter dated August 2, 2017 (17-401) outlines the actions federal employees can take during open season.

Open Season Opportunities

During the annual Open Season, federal 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.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Federal employees can enroll in 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 2017 will be able to bring up to $500 of unspent funds from 2017 into 2018. Participants must re-enroll for the 2018 Benefit Period to be eligible for carryover. There is not 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 $2600 for the 2018 Benefit Period.
  • The minimum election for the flexible spending accounts is $100 for the 2018 Benefit Period.
  • The maximum annual election for a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account is $5000 per household for the 2018 Benefit Period. There is no carryover for this account, but there is a grace period.

Dental and Vision Plans

Employees can enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a dental plan under the FEDVIP Program and also enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a vision plan under the FEDVIP Program.

Health Plans

Federal employees can enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a health plan under the FEHB Program.

Pre-Open Season Materials

OPM also has provided the following documents with information and frequently asked questions about open season:

Additional Questions

Federal employees with specific benefits questions should contact their agency’s benefits officer. If you do not know who this person is, you can go to http://apps.opm.gov/abo where you will find a list of agencies and their Headquarters Benefits Officers.

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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.