The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) warned federal employees this week not to ignore savings on their health coverage as the annual 2022 Federal Benefits open season runs from November 14 through December 12.
According to Kiran Ahuja, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, “Tens of thousands of enrollees may be passing up significant savings by failing to review their health insurance coverage during open season and make sure they are getting the most out of their benefits for themselves and their families.”
“Ask yourself: how have my needs or those of my family changed over the previous year? Then, during the open season enrollment period, do a wellness or financial assessment to help you make an informed choice that will bring you the best treatment.”
OPM urged federal workers to consider the tax benefits of the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS). Federal employees can save money by setting up an annual pre-tax sum representing their estimated out-of-pocket costs for dependent, dental, and vision care.
According to OPM, fewer than 20% of employees across all agencies will use the FSAFEDS program in 2022.
Pre-tax contributions to health care and/or dependent care flexible spending accounts under the FSAFEDS may be made by federal employees during the open season. OPM provided the following FAQs:
What FSAFEDS alternatives do I have during the open season?
Sign up for or re-register for the Dependent Care FSA, Limited Expense Health Care FSA, and Health Care FSA (DCFSA).
What if I stay silent?
Your choice won’t be automatically accepted. You must reenroll to keep your account(s) active for the upcoming benefit year.
NOTE: Re-enrollment in any of these two plans in the next year is a requirement to be eligible to carry over unused funds from the HCFSA or LEX HCFSA for the current plan year. DCFSAs cannot be carried over.
What else do I need to know?
The minimum yearly election amount currently is $100 for all FSAFEDS accounts. The Health Care or Limited Expense Health Care FSAs have a $2,750 per participant maximum contribution amount. The Dependent Care FSA can be used for up to $5,000 per family.
You can read more about FSAFEDS here.
Federal Employees’ Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)
FEDVIP, not FEHB, should take care of your dental and vision requirements. Base your FEDVIP decisions on the type of care you anticipate needing over the next year. You can increase your coverage during the open season if you anticipate needing more extensive dental care next year.
- Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP)
FLTCIP offers long-term care insurance, which is a fantastic perk for employees. This can help defray the cost of providing assistance if you cannot do the activities of daily living on your own. The prices grow unaffordable as you age, making this program less appealing to retirees.
The private market offers several long-term coverage schemes that might be better for you. Just be wary of the numerous complicated private sector policies and ensure you get impartial advice about your insurance coverage.
FLTCIP fills a particular need, so you must consider all your possibilities and make changes in the open season if necessary.
FEGLI offers life insurance with various levels of coverage. Retirees can choose a different type of coverage because, like FLTCIP, it also gets quite expensive over time.
Any fed with family should consider obtaining the highest amount of FEGLI coverage possible, especially if they are still building their nest egg. The open season allows you to modify your plan, change or cancel it.
OPM provides information but doesn’t provide the context for how federal employees should go about their benefits concerning their overall financial well-being, nor do they offer planning considerations. So you must do your research ahead of the November 14 open season start date.
After entering the financial services industry in 1994, it was a desire to guide people towards their financial independence that drove Aaron to start Steele Capital Management in 2013. Armed with an extensive background in financial planning and commercial banking coupled with a sincere passion for helping people, Aaron has the expertise and affinity for serving the unique needs of those in transition. Clients benefit from his objective financial solutions and education aligned solely with
helping them pursue the most comfortable financial life possible.
Born in Olympia, Washington, Aaron spent much of his childhood in Denver, Colorado. An area outside of Phoenix, Arizona, known as the East Valley, occupies a special place in Aaron’s heart. It is where he graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, started a family, and advanced his professional career.
Having now returned to his hometown of Olympia, and with the days of coaching his sons football and baseball teams behind him, he now has time to pursue his civic passions. Aaron is proud to serve on the Board of Regents Leadership for Thurston County as the Secretary and Treasurer for the Morningside area. His past affiliations include the West Olympia Rotary and has served on various committees for organizations throughout his community.
Aaron and his beautiful wife, Holly, a Registered Nurse, consider their greatest accomplishment having raised Thomas and Tate, their two intelligent and motivated sons. Their oldest son Tate is following in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps and currently attends the Carson College of Business at Washington State University. Their beloved youngest son, Thomas, is a student at Olympia High School.
Focused on helping veterans and their families navigate the maze of long-term care solutions, Aaron specializes in customized strategies to avoid the financial crisis that care related expenses can create. Experience has shown him that many seniors are not prepared for the economic transition that takes place as they reach an advanced age.
With support from the American Academy of Benefit Planners – an organization with expertise and resources on the intricacies of government benefits – he helps clients close the gap between the cost of care and their income while protecting their assets from depletion.
Aaron can help you and your family to create, preserve and protect your legacy.
That’s making a difference.
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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