The advice from the head of the Office of Personnel Management comes as part of a roundup of pay and benefits news.
Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja urged federal employees to check their finances and reassess their benefits during the upcoming federal benefits Open Season, which runs Nov. 14 through Dec. 12.
“Tens of thousands of enrollees are potentially leaving valuable savings on the table by not taking advantage of Open Season to review their health care coverage and ensure they are receiving the most out of their benefits for themselves and their family,” Ahuja stated in a press release. “Ask yourself – how have my or my family needs changed this past year, and then utilize the Open Season enrollment period to conduct a wellness or financial check-up to make an informed decision that gets you the best care.”
Those with upcoming surgeries, children on the way, prescription medication and vision care needs are encouraged to take that into account during Open Season, and plan accordingly. It’s estimated that 2.5% of enrolled workers changed health coverage in 2021’s Open Season, with 0.6% of enrollees switching health insurance carriers.
Federal employees can save money through the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program, FSAFEDS, which allows workers to set aside an annual pre-tax amount that they estimate spending on out-of-pocket health care costs. In 2022, less than 20% of employees across agencies used the FSAFEDS program, according to OPM.
The Federal Employee Health Benefits Program has over 8 million enrollees, making it the largest employee-sponsored health benefits program in the world. The overall increase in premiums for most FEHBP enrollees is 7.2% for 2023.
The FEHBP features 271 health plans for 2023. OPM asked FEHBP carriers to focus on COVID-19, telehealth, maternal health, gender-affirming care and services, obesity, preventive services, assisted reproductive technology, and medical foods.
2022 Combined Federal Campaign National Co-Chairs
Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough and Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja, will serve as national honorary co-chairs of this year’s Combined Federal Campaign.
The CFC allows federal workers to donate directly to thousands of charities or causes in the United States and around the world. The 2022 campaign runs Sept. 1 to Jan. 14, and each week features a different cause, such as disaster relief or mental health. Earlier this year, a special solicitation to help people affected by the war in Ukraine raised $670,000.
“Through the tremendous generosity of the federal family each year, the Combined Federal Campaign demonstrates that a commitment to service can take many forms,” Ahuja said. “The impact and spirit of the Combined Federal Campaign extends far beyond the workplace and is kept alive by dedicated public servants in communities across the nation and around the world. I look forward to another successful campaign season.”
Federal workers and retirees can pledge to any charity or cause by visiting the pledge portal at givecfc.org.
“America’s great public servants always step up when the country needs them most, whether it’s through their day-to-day work or their generous giving. I know that same spirit of compassion and selflessness will shine through during this year’s campaign,” McDonough said.
Last year, the CFC raised more than $80 million. Since its inception 61 years ago, federal workers and retirees have pledged more than $8.6 billion to CFC charities.
This piece was published first on GovExec, a FederalSoup partner site ("OPM Director Urges Enrollees Not To Leave Savings on the Table During Open Season, and More.")