Which Health Plans Are Leaving the FEHB in 2019?

Some insurance plans are leaving the FEHB in 2019. Here is a list of the plans and actions impacted federal employees need to take.

Some insurance plans are leaving the Federal Employees Health Benefits program (FEHB) next year. This is an important consideration for federal employees who are impacted by the changes because they must re-enroll in a different program or risk ending up under a different insurance plan that may or may not suit their needs.

The Office of Personnel Management has provided information on which plans are leaving and actions employees must take.

As a reminder, the open season for federal employee benefits will be from Monday, November 12, 2018 through Monday, December 10, 2018 this year.

Plans Leaving the FEHB Program

The following is a list of insurance plans that are leaving the FEHB program in 2019.

State Plan Name 2018 Enrollment Code General Location
Arizona Health Net of Arizona, Inc. A74, A76, A75 Cochise, Gila, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz counties
California United Healthcare of California CY1, CY3, CY2, CY4, CY6, CY5 Southern and Central California
Iowa United Healthcare Plan of the River Valley, Inc. YH1, YH3, YH2 Eastern and Central Iowa
Illinois United Healthcare Plan of the River Valley, Inc. YH1, YH3, YH2 West Central Illinois
Wisconsin Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation LW1, LW3, LW2, LW4, LW6, LW5 South Central Wisconsin, including the following counties: Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Lafayette, Marquette, Portage, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Vernon, Walworth, Waukesha, Waushara and Wood Counties

Actions Affected Federal Employees Need to Take

How will I know if my enrollment is affected?

Affected federal employees will receive a letter from their insurance plans stating that they are no longer participating in the FEHB Program with additional instructions. You may be contacted by your local agency benefits officers as well.

My plan is one that is leaving the FEHB. What must I do?

According to OPM, employees in terminating plans must enroll in a new health plan during Open Season. If they do not enroll in a new plan, they will be enrolled in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan FEP Blue Focus (the lowest-cost nationwide plan option for 2019 as determined by OPM). If you have questions or need assistance, be sure to contact your local human resources office and/or agency benefits officers.

When will my new coverage begin?

Coverage under an enrollee’s new health plan will be effective the first day of the pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2019; for most employees this will be Sunday, January 6, 2019. Enrollees will remain covered and receive the 2018 benefits of the old plan until coverage under the new plan becomes effective.

Other Important Information

OPM has provided the following additional information for employees affected by the changes outlined above.

If my High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) is terminating coverage in my service area or is leaving the FEHB Program, what happens to my Health Savings Account (HSA) or my Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)?

If you wish to continue contributing to your HSA, you must enroll in another HDHP. If you do not enroll in another HDHP, you can withdraw money from your HSA for qualified medical expenses. You should check Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance on use of HSA dollars for non-qualified medical expenses. You should work directly with your fiduciary to make decisions regarding your HSA.

Unless you use your HRA credits, they will be forfeited once the plan you’ve elected becomes effective.

How do I change my enrollment to another plan?

If you are a Federal employee, use your agency’s online self-service system such as Employee Express, MyPay, Employee Personal Page, EBIS, etc. If you need additional help, contact your HR office.

If you are a Tribal employee, contact your Tribal Employer.

If you are a Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retiree, call Open Season Express at (800) 332-9798 or access Open Season Online at https://retireeFEHB.opm.gov.

How can I compare the different health plans available to me?

There are several resources available to help you compare plans.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.