Federal employees have just over a month to make any planned changes to their health, dental and vision insurance options, as open season for feds began Nov. 9.

Though there are slightly fewer health insurance options for 2021 than in 2020 — 276 total plans this year compared with 279 options last year — feds still have access to 18 national options, in addition to location-specific plans.

Feds will have more options for both vision and dental programs in 2021, with a new seven-year contract facilitated by the Office of Personnel Management. For dental programs, UnitedHealthcare Dental has signed on as a new national program, while Dominion Dental and Health Partners are the two new regional carriers.

Feds have the option of one new vision carrier — MetLife Vision — for 2021.

Employees that are happy with their current health insurance plans can do nothing and be automatically re-enrolled in the same plan for 2021, but those employees may be able to get the same coverage for a lower price but with a different carrier.

OPM has also pressed insurance providers to more broadly cover COVID-19 care and telehealth, with mandates that providers waive cost-sharing and prior authorization requirements for any COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing and that an FDA-approved vaccine be covered for free.

When and to what degree telehealth services are available may vary from carrier to carrier, and details for each provider are available in the plan brochures.

Open season for 2021 runs until Dec. 14, 2020.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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