Lots of calls from people who are confused about the status of their 1982 health insurance. Welcome to the club! Everybody else -- doctors, lawyers, federal chiefs and reporters -- is, too. This is where things stand:
The U.S. Court of Appeals said it was okay for the Office of Personnel Management to delay the "open season" enrollment period through Jan. 4. The court this week will hear arguments from the Office of Personnel Management (which favored the open season delay and wants to impose certain benefit and premium cuts), unions and health plans who mostly favor having open season, and who want the right to offer whatever benefits they choose.
A decision on open season and benefits is expected before the Jan. 4 deadline. Until then, there is no open season and workers and retirees are generally locked into the health plan they now have. There is an exception for federal and postal workers who do not have health insurance now. They may, until Dec. 31, enroll in a plan.
Many of those employes say they have been told by their personnel or insurance offices there is no open season for them. That is incorrect. There is an open season for new subscribers only, and OPM has so advised agencies. The official word went out in a Federal Personnel Manual letter (FPM 890-81) that was dated Dec. 7. If you want to enroll in the program (not change plans), that is your authority. Other feds, who are already in a health plan, must wait for open season to change plans.