Feds Interested In Self-Plus-One Have Another Shot in February

OPM announces limited enrollment period – and record number of transactions during Open Season.

Federal employees interested in switching to the new self-plus-one option in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program will have another opportunity to do so early next year.

The Office of Personnel Management will hold a “limited enrollment period” from Feb. 1 through Feb. 29 for those employees who missed Open Season this past fall and want to opt into self-plus-one. The February enrollment period is only for self-plus-one changes, and is not an extension of Open Season, which ended in mid-December, OPM said.

“Only decreases in enrollment from self and family to self-plus-one will be allowed,” the agency said in a press release.

The self-plus-one coverage option, included in the 2013 budget deal, gives feds with one eligible family member, such as a spouse or a dependent up to age 26, a new FEHBP enrollment choice. The new offering could save those currently enrolled in FEHBP’s self and family plan on average 6 percent in current premium costs in 2016, OPM has estimated, while self and family premiums are expected to rise by 7 percent on average

OPM processed more than 600,000 FEHBP enrollment transactions during Open Season this year – a record high, according to the agency.

That’s 170,000 more transactions than the previous high of 430,000 in 2014. Feds and retirees can choose or switch plans under FEHBP, as well as sign up for flexible spending accounts, during the annual Open Season, which ran from Nov. 9 through Dec. 14 this year. OPM attributed the increase to the debut of self-plus-one, available beginning in 2016.

“This year, with the new self-plus-one enrollment type available, it was more important than ever that enrollees review the plans available to them and to make an informed decision . . . and they did,” said John O’Brien, OPM’s director of healthcare and insurance. “We emphasized the need to shop around, to do what is best for you and your family’s healthcare needs. And, all at the same time, perhaps saving you money.”

(Image via altanaka/