Democracy Dies in Darkness


Q&A for federal workers: Open season options

November 7, 2017 at 6:00 AM

(Nigel Carse/iStock)

Question: I’m happy with my benefits. Can’t I just sit out the open season coming up?

Answer: You can, but that doesn’t mean nothing will change.

From Nov. 13 through Dec. 11, federal workers not in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program may join for 2018 — retirees generally can’t newly enroll. Anyone already enrolled can switch plans or levels of coverage or leave them to continue unchanged. But at least be sure your plan isn’t among the few dropping out, and if it’s continuing, check for changes in coverage, out of pocket costs and premiums.

Also, both employees and retirees may newly enroll in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, where the available plans will stay the same. As with the FEHBP, current enrollment continues for those who do nothing, subject to changes in a plan’s coverage and costs.

However, if you want a health-care flexible spending account, a dependent care account or both next year, you must make an election even if you already are enrolled. The maximum is rising by $50 to $2,650 in the former, while the cap on the latter will remain $5,000. FSAs are available only to active employees, not to retirees.

Eric Yoder is a National reporter at The Washington Post. He has reported for The Post since 2000, concentrating on federal employee issues, the budget and government management policies.

Post Recommends

We're glad you're enjoying The Washington Post.

Get access to this story, and every story, on the web and in our apps with our Basic Digital subscription.

Welcome to The Washington Post

Thank you for subscribing
Keep reading for $10 $1
Show me more offers