An Open Season Checklist for Federal Employees

Federal employees can review and make changes to their health insurance plans annually during the Open Season. It can be daunting, with many plans and premium increases to consider. This year’s Open Season will take place from Friday, November 14 to December 12, 2022. The changes will take effect on January 1, 2023. And it’s the best time for federal employees to switch health plans and alter their existing plans. So, ensure your health plan is the most excellent fit for your family’s needs. Let’s look at the open Season checklist to guide you through the process.

High Premium Increases

Employee premium share will rise by 8.7% next year. It’s the highest increase in a decade, making this year preferable for many employees to contemplate switching FEHB plans. Premiums will go down in 56 programs, remain the same in nine goals, rise below the usual in 119 plans, and rise slightly above the standard in 78 projects throughout the upcoming year.

For instance, Self-only registrants will have to pay an additional $6,510 due to a decrease in premiums of 36.5% in Nevada, a rise in premiums of 49.5% in New Mexico, and a 34.2% rise in Illinois plans. It’s crucial to check how the premium for your FEHB plan has changed. So, here is how you can select the best health plan for 2023. 

Selecting New Health Plans

Shopping for a new health plan can be daunting, but selecting the option that offers the best value is worth the effort. Total cost should be the primary factor in your selection process. It includes your premiums and the likely out-of-pocket expenses based on your family’s age, size, and expected healthcare usage.

For federal employees, Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans ranks plan options based on total cost estimates. The differences in 2023 can be striking. For instance, a family of four living in Washington, D.C., could save more than $4,000 in estimated costs by switching from BCBS Standard to Kaiser Standard. Alternatively, this same family could keep their PPO coverage and save $3,500 by switching from BCBS Standard to GEHA Elevate.

Hence, the goal is to ensure that you select the plan that offers the best value for you and your family. Let’s see how you can do it effectively because savings can be huge. 

Flexible Spending Accounts

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are a great way to save money on out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. With FSAs, you can set aside pre-tax dollars to cover eligible healthcare costs. Unfortunately, only 20% of federal employees are taking advantage of this program.

Considering setting up an FSA, it’s essential to know critical details. You can contribute anywhere from $100 to $3,050 in 2023. This money is taken out of your paycheck in equal installments, avoiding payroll taxes, which means you get an adequate 30% savings on qualified healthcare expenses!

Plan Benefit Changes

As health insurance plans prepare for significant changes across the board in 2023, it’s essential to be aware of the changes to your current FEHB plan and any plan you may be considering. These changes can significantly affect the benefits you’re entitled to and how much you’ll pay for them. It’s crucial to look at the official FEHB plan brochure and closely at Section II – How Your Plan Will Change in 2023. 

You’ll find detailed information on any additions or changes in your plan benefits and an overview of the cost increases you could be facing in the year ahead. Please ensure you’re prepared for a very different FEHB experience in 2023 before it’s too late.

The same goes for your provider directory, formulary updates, and dental benefits for 2023. Make sure you check your doctor’s coverage and dental needs to ensure that you are making the best decisions for yourself and your family. Updating these lists and aligning them with your needs and goals is essential in managing your health insurance. 

Final words

Less than 2.5% of federal employees switched health insurance during Open Season, despite the highest premium rise in the past decade. However, professionals should check to see if their current FEHB plan is still the best option. They should look for changes in 2023 to the significant benefits, provider networks, and prescription drug coverage.

Contact Information:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 6232511574

Todd Carmack grew up in Dubuque, Iowa, where he learned the concepts of hard work and the value of a dollar. Todd spent years in Boy Scouts and achieved the honor of Eagle Scout. Todd graduated from Iowa State University, moved to Chicago, spent a few years managing restaurants, and started working in financial services and insurance, helping families prepare for the high cost of college for their children. After spending years in the insurance industry, Todd moved to Arizona and started working with Federal Employees, offing education and options on their benefits. Becoming a Financial Advisor / Fiduciary can help people properly plan for the future. Todd also enjoys cooking and traveling in his free time.

Investment advisory services are offered through BWM Advisory, LLC (BWM). BWM is registered as an Investment Advisor located in Scottsdale, Arizona, and only conducts business in states where it is properly licensed, notice has been filed, or is excluded from notice filing requirements. This information is not a complete analysis of the topic(s) discussed, is general in nature, and is not personalized investment advice. Nothing in this article is intended to be investment advice. There are risks involved with investing which may include (but are not limited to) market fluctuations and possible loss of principal value. Carefully consider the risks and possible consequences involved prior to making any investment decision. You should consult a professional tax or investment advisor regarding tax and investment implications before taking any investment actions or implementing any investment strategies.

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