With the 2021 open season underway, federal employees have several important choices to make for their healthcare, including how to balance increasing costs and COVID-19 pandemic needs in the coming year.
The changes will impact thousands of federal workers and their benefits. In addition, the coronavirus makes this year unique in many ways, so it’s more important than ever for civil servants nationwide to make sure they’re making the best decisions this year for themselves and their families.
Here’s a rundown of the biggest changes and most frequently asked questions.
Will my rates go up next year?
The short answer is yes, as the Office of Personnel Management announced that they calculated a moderate increase form 2020 to 2021, though how individual feds choose their new plans will ultimately impact cost.
The average costs for health insurance under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program will likely go up less in 2021 than they did in 2020.
Will COVID treatment be covered?
Legislative mandates have guaranteed that federal insurance providers will cover COVID testing and vaccination, when an FDA-approved treatment becomes available.
Federal health insurance providers have been instructed to make certain changes to help feds stay safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.
How will telemedicine be offered next year?
The availability of telehealth is ultimately up to the doctors and specialists that provide such services, but OPM had pressed insurance providers to waive certain costs for such services in light of the pandemic.
Telemedicine options were one of the key factors in Office of Personnel Management negotiations with federal health insurance providers.
What about dental and vision insurance?
After a new, seven-year contract was signed this year, feds will have access to more dental and vision insurance options for 2021.
The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program will offer more coverage options due to a competitive selection process, according to the Office of Personnel Management.