Federal Benefits Open Season Period Ends Monday, December 10


12/5/07: The ongoing Federal Benefits Open Season for health care coverage and other benefits will run through next Monday, December 10, 2007. SEC employees interested in making changes to their coverage should do so as soon as possible to avoid the last minute crunch. During last year’s open season, many NTEU members could not easily get through to OPM’s site to enroll in the new dental and vision program and, after NTEU intervened, OPM did accommodate those new enrollees. Nevertheless, it was very unnerving for thousands of federal employees.

This year’s Federal Benefits Open Season covers changes under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and the dental and vision program (FEDVIP), as well as participation in the Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS) program.

In addition to your health, dental, and vision planning, NTEU encourages all of you to look closely at setting up an FSA. NTEU fought hard for FSAs which permit federal employees to deduct from their paychecks specific amounts of money — before it is taxed — that will then be used to pay for out-of-pocket medical and/or dependent care expenses. Because the money is deducted up front, the employee’s taxable income is lower and overall income taxes can be substantially reduced. Current enrollees must remember to enroll each year to continue participating in FSAFEDS since money does not carry over year to year. FSAs should also not be confused with HSAs, which are Health Savings Accounts and related to High Deductible Health Care Plans.