Understanding Open Season in Government: What Exactly is Open Season?

It’s officially Open Season, and it’s time to review your health care plan and determine if is still meeting your needs. What exactly is Open Season and why is it important? We want to shed some light on this time of year by giving you the in’s and out’s of Open Season.

To start our series off, let’s answer some of the most basic, but important questions about Open Season:

1. What exactly is Open Season?

When new federal employees are hired, they pick a health care plan. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) Open Season refers to the time each year when federal employees are allowed to change their health care coverage options, including dental and vision insurance.

2. Why is Open Season important?

Throughout the year, existing employees can change their coverage options during “life-changing events” such as getting married or having a baby. But otherwise, employees must wait until “Open Season” to make changes to their health coverage.

3. I love my health insurance plan, so Open Season doesn’t apply to me, right?

Not so fast! You may be perfectly happy with your current health insurance plan, and that’s awesome! But it is a good idea to at least do a little bit of research. According to OPM, most FEHB plans will see benefit and rate changes for 2012. Some plans are dropping out of the Program and others are changing their service areas or coverage options . If nothing else, take a look at your plan and make sure you know what to expect in 2012 and that it still meets your needs.

4. When is Open Season?

This year, Open Season runs from November 14th-December 12th.

So get in the know and don’t be afraid to change things up. That is what Open Season is all about!


The Understanding Open Season in Government series is brought to you by Aetna. To find health insurance plans and Open Season materials, check out AetnaFeds.com. Aetna is a proud partner of GovLoop.

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