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Federal Benefits Open Season

Multicolor background with red, purple, blue and white. Blue stripe at the top that says in white text: Federal Benefits Open Season is here! In the middle in large blue text it: Open Season 2016. Underneath in smaller text it says November 14,2016 - December 12, 2016. Icons are below with a tooth, eye, medical symbol, RX Stethoscope, heart and heartbeat symbol and an ear. OPM.GOV in red text at the bottom right corner.

Federal Benefits Open Season is here! Each year, we encourage all eligible employees and retirees to review their health, dental, vision, and dependent care needs and to make changes to or enroll in one of the available benefit programs. Open Season is the time to make choices you generally cannot make at any other time of the year.

Remember, all health, dental, or vision plans are not alike. Open Season is about exercising your ability to choose the benefits that best meet you and your family’s needs. You have between now and December 12 to make your benefit decisions. 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 this country. For 2017, there will be 245 health plans available, with 15 of them available nationwide. And remember, all FEHB Plans now offer the opportunity to enroll in a Self Plus One enrollment type. This option allows you to cover yourself and one eligible family member who you designate, such as a spouse or child. If you did not take advantage of Self Plus One last year, you can do so for 2017. 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 2017, FEDVIP offers 10 dental plans, six of which are nationwide plans. There are also four vision plans, all available nationwide. Coverage under a FEDVIP dental or vision plan is a great way to fill in the gaps of any health plan coverage you now have or to help pay for services that are not covered or available under your FEHB health plan. Some highlights: FEDVIP offers adult orthodontia. In-network Class A dental services, such as oral exams, prophylaxis and topical application of fluoride, are free. And, you can enroll in a self-only vision plan for less than $3 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)

While retirees are not eligible to enroll, most employees are eligible. You should check with your agency’s human resources office to verify your eligibility. For those who are eligible, FSAFEDS offers three 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” provision under which 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 2016 funds, you must re-enroll for 2017.

To learn more about FSAs, how much you can contribute, how much you can save, and changes for the 2017 benefit period, head over to our Federal Benefits Open Season webpage.

Don’t forget, you have until December 12 to review your needs and those of your family and to make the choices that are right for you.  


With the December 14 deadline for Federal employees and retirees to make benefit changes quickly approaching, I want to make sure you have all of the answers you need to make the best possible decisions for you and your family. 

Today at 1:30 p.m. ET, OPM will host a special #FedBenefits Twitter chat. OPM program experts will answer your questions on health care, vision, dental, and flexible spending account benefits.

As I mentioned last month, beginning in 2016 all carriers will offer three enrollment types: Self Only, Self Plus One, and Self and Family. This Open Season 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.

During the Twitter chat, our experts can clarify terms and help you compare plan features. It’s the perfect way to make sure you have the best information at your fingertips to make a decision by the December 14 deadline.

Just join us at 1:30 p.m. today on Twitter at www.twitter.com/USOPM and tweet your questions using hashtag #FedBenefits. We’ll get to as many questions as we can during the hour. Also, you can tweet your questions in advance of the event.

And of course, you don’t have to wait until the Twitter chat to get answers. Any time between now and the deadline, you can go to www.opm.gov/openseason or speak to your local HR office to get the latest information.

John O’Brien is the Director of Healthcare and Insurance for OPM.

Image of a Women smiling with grey background. Headline: Join @USOPM for a Twitter Chat on #FedBenefits. This is your chance to learn everything you'll need to know to make changes to your health, dental, vision or FSA plans. Subhead: When, Thurs. Dec.3, 1:30 - 2:30 pm ET. Where, On Twitter (#FedBenefits). Footer: Featuring, Amber Hudson. A federal benefits expert from OPM's Healthcare and insurance team.


Today’s day-after-Thanksgiving sales kick off the holiday shopping season. But today isn’t just about shopping for the softest sweater or the hottest new toy. It’s also a great time to shop for the perfect health plan for you and your family.

With just about a week left in the Federal benefits open season, why not focus on determining whether your current plan is the best one for you. Ask yourself these questions: Do you have the right coverage for your family? Are there other options you should consider? Are you getting the best value?

I am proud to report that OPM’s Health Care and Insurance team recently earned national recognition for its efforts to improve the health of employees, retirees, family members, and newly insured Americans.

Our team’s efforts to deliver high quality, affordable health care have been recognized in two reports to Congress about quality and prevention. The National Strategy for Quality and Improvement in Health Care Annual Report highlights efforts that support OPM’s Healthier Americans strategic goal. The National Prevention Council’s Annual Status Report features OPM initiatives to expand insurance coverage for Tribal employees, provide Employee Assistance Program resources to our Federal workers, and reinforce preventive services like timely flu shots.

We work closely with our Federal Employees Health Benefits and Multi-State Plan Program health insurance carriers to help achieve these results.

I’m also pleased to share that we've seen more FEHB plans achieve “Most Improved” and “Exemplary” status each year since we started tracking scores for health care quality. These scores demonstrate how well plans deliver care for such common conditions as diabetes and high blood pressure, and how effectively they screen for health risks.

What does this news mean for you and your family? Many people don’t know that having good quality health coverage means they may be able to prevent or better care for chronic diseases. Sadly, high blood pressure contributes to approximately 1,000 deaths every day and at least 25 percent of people with diabetes don’t know they have it. Better screening and control save lives. Preventing chronic diseases helps us stay healthy, active, productive, and connected to those who depend on us. So your plan’s performance matters. Check out OPM’s Quality Scores page for your plan’s rating.

Health needs change from year to year and it’s important to make sure your plan is still the best one for you and your family. Take a look at our FEHB Open Season page for key information and answers to your questions.

Nothing is more important than your and your family’s health. Take some time this Black Friday and over the weekend to review your plan and consider whether it’s time for a change. And, don’t forget, open season ends December 8. 

Photo of a sale sign in a store window.


It is time again for Federal employees to review their health, dental, and vision plan choices to make sure they have the coverage that best meet their needs and the needs of their loved ones.

The Federal benefits open season begins on Monday, November 10. Employees have until December 8 to make their choices. And the choices are many. The Federal Employees Health Benefit Program covers 8.2 million employees, retirees, and their families all across this country. We want to make sure that Federal workers can get the coverage that meets their needs. So for 2015, there will be 257 health plans, with 11 of them available nationwide.  Whether you are looking for a robust plan or one that covers your basic needs, there is a plan for you.

During open season, FEHB participants can decide whether to keep their current health plans or change them; they can change their FEDVIP, and FSAFEDS enrollments for the following year. Eligible employees who are not currently a part of FEHB can also enroll for the first time. 

Employees also have the option of enrolling in Flexible Spending Plans. These plans allow employees to set aside pre-tax money to pay for eligible health and dependent care expenses.  Employees who are eligible to participate in FEHB can participate in FSAFEDS. For the first time, employees can enroll in FSAFEDS with just a $100 deposit. And also for the first time, employees with flexible spending accounts will be able to roll over up to $500 of unused funds into the following year. 

To help you understand the choices available to you, check out the Circle ‘Round Your Benefits, the Plan Comparison, and Plan Smart Choice. Whether you choose to stick with the plans you have or start anew, we hope you find that you receive the best service and options to meet your and your family’s health care needs.

I want to be sure that everyone in the Federal family has the peace of mind to know that their families are protected and covered. From the preventative care that keeps us healthy to the unexpected emergencies that give us pause, FEHB and our other benefit programs help give us that peace of mind.

Federal benefits open season starts Monday, November 10

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