TIME FOR A CHANGE? OPEN SEASON BEGINS MONDAY
It’s Open Season — the time of year when employees can sign up for benefit programs, change enrollments, or cancel their participation.
Open Season for three benefits programs — Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) — begins Monday, Nov. 8.
FEHB and FEDVIP plans have changed significantly. For example, the 2010 Affordable Care Act changed FEHB eligibility requirements allowing children up to age 26 as eligible dependents for Self and Family coverage (Link, 8/17). Employees are asked to note that even if they keep the same FEHB plans and coverage automatically continues, their premiums may change. It’s also recommended that employees check their insurance coverage for details that could save them money. For example, if you’re enrolled in a family plan but no one else is covered by that plan, changing to the “Self Only” option will reduce your premiums.
Employees with FEHB plans that no longer will be offered must select a new plan or their health insurance coverage will end. Affected employees will receive a letter from the plan and from the Postal Service. Employees whose plan’s service area is changing also will be notified.
FSA — which can save money on taxes for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses — also has changed. The Health Care FSA has added restrictions on coverage for over-the-counter drugs and medicines. Also, children who are not dependents on your taxes may now be covered under your Health Care FSA until Dec. 31 of the year before they turn age 27. Employees who want an FSA for 2011 need to re-enroll — FSA coverage does not continue from year to year. FSA brochures with more details now are being mailed to all employees.
Open Season for the Annual Leave Exchange (ALE) begins Monday, Nov. 15. Employees eligible to make an ALE election will receive a letter.
FEHB, FSA and FEDVIP booklets will be arriving in the mail. Look for the information and save it when it arrives. Additional Open Season information is in today’s edition of the Postal Bulletin. You also can go to the “My HR” section on LiteBlue for more details.
You will need your employee identification number (EIN) and USPS personal identification number (PIN) to enter PostalEASE or LiteBlue. Forget your PIN? Click here to read “Got Your Number?” in yesterday’s Link for help.