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OPM proposes new dates for health insurance open season

Apr. 21, 2010 - 06:00AM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments
The Office of Personnel Management in Washington, D.C.
The Office of Personnel Management in Washington, D.C. (SHEILA VEMMER / STAFF)

The Office of Personnel Management wants to move up the health insurance open season for federal employees and retirees by two weeks, beginning this year.

In a Federal Register notice April 19, OPM proposed holding the annual monthlong Federal Employees Health Benefits Program open season every year beginning Nov. 1 and ending Nov. 30. Currently, the open season runs from the Monday of the second full workweek in November to the Monday of the second full workweek in December.

"This will simplify the annual announcement of the time period for open season and allow agencies and employees to better plan for the enrollment opportunity since they will know well in advance when it will occur each year," OPM said.

OPM is accepting comments on that proposal until June 18, and will likely make a final decision on the open season later this summer.

OPM is also lifting the deadline for federal employees to remove family members from dental or vision coverage after a major life event.

Currently, feds can only remove spouses or children beginning 31 days before the major life event such as death, divorce, or the marriage or 22nd birthday of a child up until 60 days after the event. Today, if a fed misses that deadline, he has to keep paying premiums for an ineligible family member until the next year's coverage begins.

But beginning May 20, a federal employee will be able to remove an ineligible family member at any time of the year, beginning 31 days before the life event, according to a Federal Register notice issued April 20 by OPM. And the employee will be reimbursed for premiums he paid for that relative after the relative became ineligible. Currently, the enrollment changes are not retroactive and take effect the first pay period after the removal request is made.

Tell us what you think. E-mail slosey@federaltimes.com?subject=Reader Question">STEPHEN LOSEY.

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