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Federal Benefits Open Season is here! Each year, we encourage all eligible employees and retirees to review their health, dental, vision, and tax-saving needs and to make changes to, or enroll in, the right benefit programs for you and your family. Open Season is the time to make elections you generally can’t make during other times of the year. Remember that all health, dental, or vision plans have some differences, and between now and December 11 you can make choices in our quality benefit programs. Here is a link to learn more about the Federal Benefits Open Season.

The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program

The FEHB Program covers over 8.2 million employees, retirees, and their families all across the country. For 2018, there will be 262 health plan choices available, with 15 of them available nationwide. To help you find the right plan for you and your family, OPM’s website provides plan details, including costs, provider directory, services, and benefits. Be sure to use our improved Plan Comparison Tool to assist with your decision.

If you are enrolled in “Self and Family”, but have only one eligible family member, consider changing to Self Plus One. The change could save you money.

On OPM’s Quality page, you can also check out plans in your ZIP code to see how they compare to your current plan on the quality and customer satisfaction topics that matter the most to you. OPM selects the most relevant measures available, including prenatal care, blood pressure control, timeliness of processing claims, and overall plan satisfaction. You can learn more about the FEHB Program on our dedicated Federal Benefits Open Season webpage.

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)

For 2018, FEDVIP offers 10 dental plans, of which 6 are nationwide plans. And, there are 4 vision plans offered, all available nationwide. Coverage under a FEDVIP dental or vision plan is a great way to fill in the gaps of any coverage you now have or to help pay for services that are not covered or available under your current health plan. Some highlights: FEDVIP offers adult orthodontia and in-network Class A dental services (e.g., oral exams, prophylaxis, topical application of fluoride) are free. And, you can enroll in a self only vision plan for under $4 per pay period. As always, check plan brochures for specific coverage and compare plans. You can learn more about FEDVIP on the Federal Benefits Open Season webpage.

Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS)

Most employees are eligible to enroll in FSAFEDS, but retirees are not eligible for this particular program. You should check with your agency’s human resources office to verify your eligibility. For those that are eligible, FSAFEDS offers 3 accounts to choose from - a health care account, a limited expense health care account, and a dependent care account. Participation in these accounts allows you to lower your taxable income by setting aside pre-tax money to pay for eligible health, dental, vision, and dependent care expenses, such as co-pays, prescription drug costs, orthodontics, eyeglasses, and child/elder care. As a reminder, there is now a “carry over” where enrollees can carry over up to $500 of unused Health Care 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. To take advantage of the carry-over of 2017 funds, you must re-enroll for 2018.

FSAFEDS offers paperless reimbursement for your Health Care FSA through a number of FEHB and FEDVIP plans. This means that when you or your provider file claims with your FEHB or FEDVIP plan, FSAFEDS will automatically reimburse your eligible out-of-pocket expenses (co-pay, prescriptions cost, etc..) based on the claim information it receives from your plan. There is little or no paperwork involved, and in many cases you will receive your reimbursement before your bill is due.

To learn more about FSAs, how much you can contribute, how much you can save, and changes for the 2018 benefit period, head over to our Federal Benefits Open Season webpage.

Don’t forget, you have until December 11 to review your and your family’s needs and to make the choices that are right for you.  



 

On Saturday, November 11, 2017, the United States of America will unite in honor of our Nation’s veterans, and pay tribute to their sacrifice for our country.

As President Donald J. Trump said in his 2017 Veterans Day proclamation, “Our veterans represent the very best of America. They have bravely answered the call to serve in the finest military force in the world, and they have earned the dignity that comes with wearing the uniform and defending our great flag. On Veterans Day, we honor all Americans who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, both in times of war and peace. For nearly 100 years, since the end of World War I, Veterans Day has given us a time to pay due respect to our veterans, who have passed the torch of liberty from one generation to the next.”

At the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), we also believe that our veterans represent the very best of America. We know that from working alongside veterans and their families. We see that in our Veterans Services Office here at OPM, as we strive every day to reach out to veterans, transitioning service members, Federal agencies, Veterans Services Organizations, and other stakeholders to support veteran hiring in the Federal Government.

I personally want our veterans to know that their value to our Nation will always be immeasurable, even long after they’ve hung their combat boots up. My father was a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps (predecessor to the U.S. Air Force).  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals for his service in the Pacific Theatre in WWII.  He rejoined Federal service when he was discharged and served about 40 years at the U.S. Postal Service.  The pride I feel for him, and everyone who has served our Nation, will never fade.

Our veterans are, and will always be, valued members of the Federal Civil Service and American citizenry.  America is the land of the free, because of the brave. Happy Veterans Day and thank you for your service.



I am excited to announce that OPM is releasing the latest Federal Human Capital Business Reference Model (HCBRM), defining the Federal Government Human Capital Management (HCM) functional framework. This model was developed by engaging Human Resources (HR) policy and industry experts. 

You may be wondering what this means and how it might impact you so some background on the HCBRM may be helpful.   The HCBRM is the first step toward the goal of establishing a common experience for all employees concerning delivery of HR operations and services.  It provides a simplified view of operational functions and policy ownership, and a common structure which intends to align HR operations, finance and acquisition. Ultimately, it seeks to foster uniformity in the HR experience for employees notwithstanding the Federal agency in which they serve. 

The HCBRM is a functional tool impacting all of us and can be leveraged by agency leaders, HR professionals, and our partners inside and outside government by laying out a clear, transparent and common HCM functional structure that:

1. Informs everyone with a simplified view of HR operational functions and policy ownership;

2. Gives HR practitioners a quick reference to understand the functional requirements for their specific area of HR;

3. Provides agency leadership with a model to more effectively plan, deliver, assess, and manage their HR workforce, policy, processes, budget, service, and delivery; and

4. Lays out the Federal HCM blueprint for government-wide HR operations, acquisition, budget formulation, programmatic evaluation, shared services, and data.

The HCBRM delivers value because it will be used to help streamline government-wide HR operations, standardize HR service delivery including information technology, simplify HR acquisitions, and drive transparency in the HR budget.   These are all benefits that can have long-lasting impact across the Executive Branch. 



*UPDATE: Application deadline extended to November 6, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. EST*

I am happy to announce that the Class of 2018 Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is open for applicants today. OPM is honored to have played a role in the success of this Program (and its predecessor, the Presidential Management Interns Program) over the course of the past 40 years, and the impact those who have participated have on public service.

The 40th anniversary of the PMF Program reminds us of the importance of public service and the legacy of those who serve. The PMF Program is the Federal Government’s flagship leadership development program at the entry level for advanced degree candidates. It brings together highly-skilled graduates holding advanced degrees into the Federal Government to prepare them for future public-sector leadership. PMFs are appointed to a temporary, two-year Federal position, where they apply their skills while engaging in a rigorous leadership development program that includes classroom, cohort, and rotational experiences which could lead to a permanent career appointment at a Federal agency.

The PMF Program has created a lasting legacy of leadership and quality service across Government over the last 40 years and I am incredibly confident that it will continue to do so in the future. Just in this past year, we had 417 Finalists for the Class of 2017 who are graduates from over 140 academic institutions across 60 disciplines.

To read more about the PMF Program and how to apply for the Class of 2018, please check out our website at www.pmf.gov.  



It’s that time of year again! Time to “show some love.”

I am happy to announce that online giving through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) site is officially open! Employees may now visit https://cfcgiving.opm.gov/welcome - a brand new, centralized giving portal for all potential CFC contributors across the nation - to create their own profile, research charities, and then choose how they would like to support the causes they care about most by donating money or volunteer time. The site will also give Federal employees better access to manage their pledge information, charity payments, and more.

The CFC is one of the largest and most successful workplace fundraising campaigns in the world, and how rewarding is it that we have the opportunity to participate as Federal employees. Over the past 56 years, the CFC has raised $8.2 billion to help those in need around the corner, across the nation, and throughout the world.

However, as times change, the way things are done also change. For all the generosity of the past 55 years, something was missing.  People were still giving millions of dollars a year through the campaign but fewer people were participating.  At OPM, we asked, “What could we do to get back on a better, stronger trajectory that will set the CFC up for its next 55 years of success?”

Thanks to the CFC 50 Commission and the support of CFC Director Keith Willingham, former Commission members, and people like you, we put together a plan to strengthen the integrity, the operation and effectiveness of the CFC.

This new regulatory framework revitalizes the CFC by doing several things: eliminating many of the redundant systems (and costs) from more than 120 different markets by having one online charity application and employee donation system; reducing costs as we phase out the paper systems in the next five years; increasing the accountability and transparency of CFC and all the charities by reflecting costs up front with fees for charities who elect to participate; maintaining the pool of committed donors by staying close to our employees when they retire; and growing that pool by bringing in new donors as we appeal to them to pledge through the CFC AND to volunteer as your ability warrants.

We think the volunteer aspect is very important. Independent Sector tells us that about 63 million Americans gave 8 billion hours of volunteer service. I am sure that Federal employees are a big component of that volunteering workforce.  Finally, I’d like to stress that with this new online system, security was also foremost in our mind.  Not only will we lower campaign costs and get donations to charities more quickly but we will do so through a platform that safeguards donor information.

The CFC exists so you can donate to causes that are near and dear to your heart. We just made it easier to do so. I invite you to explore the CFC new online donation website, and I thank you in advance for showing some love.


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