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News Release

Monday, September 19, 2005
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Announces Plans for Start of Dental and Vision Benefits for

Washington, D.C.  --  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management today said dental and vision benefits will be available to federal employees and federal retirees in December 2006, following an Open Season to begin that autumn.

The Open Season enrollment for this new and anticipated benefits program will coincide with the annual enrollment periods OPM conducts for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) program. OPM favors this approach, noting simultaneous Open Seasons will give individuals access to the full complement of information they need to compare features of each program and to make informed choices on benefits and coverage levels. In addition, the end-of-year start of benefits gives enrollees the opportunity to take into account tax and other financial planning considerations.

In 2006, the Open Season for FEHB, FSA and dental and vision benefits will run from mid November to mid December.

As required by the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Benefits Enhancement Act of 2004, OPM is making dental and vision benefits available to individuals by December 2006. Eligible individuals will be able to choose benefits that cover dental care, vision care, or both. In addition, coverage can be elected for the enrollee only, the enrollee plus one other person, or the enrollee and his or her family.

Nearly 4 million current and retired federal employees are eligible to enroll in the new dental and vision benefits program. Surveys of employees consistently have indicated their desire for enhanced dental and vision benefits.

After reviewing options and getting input from potential bidders, OPM concluded the important decisions employees and retirees make on health care would be better managed if the three benefits programs operate on the same timeline.


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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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