Open Season, where federal employees and retirees can make changes to their health, dental, and vision insurance benefits for 2019, and employees can enroll in Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) will be held from November 12 through December 10, 2018. As an overall general reminder, employees should contact FDA’s Human Resources Office with health plan and enrollment questions, while annuitants should contact OPM. Questions regarding dental and vision plans can be directed to BENEFEDS at 1-877-888-3337 or www.benefeds.com. Any questions about a specific insurance plan can be directed to the specific insurance carrier.
In an earlier blog post following the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) announcement on premium increases for Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) health plans for calendar year 2019, I informed you that on average premiums are set to increase 1.2 percent for the government and 1.5 percent for enrollees. The 2019 health plan premiums are listed on OPM’s web site.
Specific plan brochures are expected to be made available on OPM’s web site the weekend before the official start of Open Season (expected November 10 and 11). Enrollees are advised to make full use of Open Season to review plan choices, and to carefully study medical and prescription drug benefits, premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. OPM’s plan comparison tool can help you with your decision.
One major change for plan year 2019 is the introduction of a third national Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) plan marketed under the name “Blue Focus.” This health plan will provide in-network coverage only and will require enrollees to pay for a greater share of items such as doctor appointments and prescription drugs. Benefit offerings and covered services and items vary greatly between the three national BCBS plans (Standard, Basic, Blue Focus), so I recommend reviewing plan materials closely.
I will keep you updated on any further information for the upcoming Open Season.