The Office of Personnel Management says that each of the government's 2.8 million workers will get a copy of a comparison chart -- showing major features of each of the 126 plans in the federal health insurance program -- before the open enrollment period begins Nov. 22.

Employes will also get, at the office, copies of a rate chart that will show what 1983 premiums will be for each of the plans in the Federal Employe Health Benefits program. The FEHB covers 9.2 million people, including nearly half the people in metro Washington.

Government workers, who will have until Dec. 10 to pick their 1983 health insurance program, will also get a copy of the brochure for the health plan in which they are currently enrolled. Copies of brochures for other health plans, OPM says, will be available for reading at agency health benefits offices.

Retired civil servants will get by mail an announcement of the open season, a copy of their current health plan brochure and a special card that they can use to request copies of specific health plan brochures from the OPM.

Health insurance premiums are due to rise an average of 24 percent next year. Rates for some plans are going up much more than that, pushing premiums for some people to more than $1,500 a year.

Because of the big jump, on top of a big jump this year, OPM expects a lot of people will be asking a lot of questions, so they can shop intelligently during the open season for the best plan at the best price.

Hot Times: A number of Navy and Labor Department workers based in Virginia have called in to complain about tropical conditions in their offices the past two days. Unofficial temperatures hit 90-plus yesterday, workers claim, and because windows in the building can't be opened, most were urged to fan and bear it.

It was even worse for some military types who -- because the calendar says so -- were in winter-weight uniforms. Mother Nature, in the form of a cold front heading our way, is expected to take care of the situation very soon.