NFFE Quick Guide to Federal Benefits Open Season
November 21, 2023
The Federal Benefits Open Season for the 2024 plan year began on Monday, November 13, and will continue until Monday, December 11, 2023. During this time, Federal employees can change their insurance plans, including health insurance under the FEHB Program, dental and vision insurance under FEDVIP, and flexible spending accounts under FSAFEDS. Federal employees who are not yet enrolled may also select coverage during this time.
There are fewer plans available for the 2024 year than there were in 2023, with a drop from 271 last year to 157 this year. Because of this, the first step this year should be to review what plans are available to you, as many plans have reworked their areas of service.
Next, review the FEHB plan brochure for your chosen Carrier, specifically section 2. This section will provide insights and share upcoming changes to watch out for. Some examples of this include MetLife dental and vision plans offering complimentary identity and fraud protection, and APWU is switching provider networks from CIGNA to UnitedHealthcare.
New overall this year:
- 17 nation-wide FFS plan options open to all
- 5 FS plan options with availability only for certain groups
- 135 Health Maintenance Organization plan options
- 10 FEHB plans offering Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) Employer Group Waiver Plan (EGWP), providing the opportunity for eligible enrollees to enhance their benefits. This addition is projected to reduce total FEHB costs by approximately 2.8%.
- Enhanced fertility benefits, as all Carriers will cover artificial insemination procedures and certain artificial insemination drugs. Also, all Carriers will cover specific IVF drugs for three cycles annually.
- Most FEHB Carriers have adopted the Hear Her campaign to raise awareness of potentially life-threatening signs throughout and after pregnancy.
- The FEDVIP program dental plan premium will increase 1.4% and the vision plan premium will increase 1.1%.
- The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (DCFSAs) will expand eligibility to include active-duty service members and Active Guard Reserve members on title 10 orders.
The last step is to narrow down plan options based on cost estimates. Premiums are important, but also consider co-pays, health savings, and other costs that may add up. Also, if you have an existing provider, check if and how your care will be affected with potential plan changes. Even if your provider has remained steady for several years, there is no guarantee that they won’t change this year, so it is best to double check. Also, make sure any medications are covered for these same reasons. Finally, take advantage of tax-preferred savings accounts, as both the FSA and HSA can help save on health care expenses.
For more information, visit the OPM website with additional details for active federal employees.
If you need assistance or have a question, contact your human resources office or your agency’s shared service center. Your agency should have provided you contact information. If after contacting your human resources office or shared service center you still need assistance, contact your agency’s headquarters level agency Benefit Officer.