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Last Chance for Open Season

Fear not, procrastinators: You still have time to make a change.

Hopefully by now, you’ve done your research and narrowed your options for your 2020 Federal Employee’s Health Benefits Program plan and possibly dental and vision coverage. The end of open season is only a few days away (midnight EST on Monday, Dec. 9).

Many people will decide to stay with the same plan they have this year and keep the same allotments in their flexible spending accounts. According to the Office of Personnel Management, if you do nothing, here’s what will happen in 2020:

  • You will continue to be covered by your current health insurance plan, unless your plan is dropping out of FEHBP or reducing its service area. However, your benefits, premiums and coverage options may change.
  • You will continue to be covered by your present dental and vision insurance plan. However, your benefits or premiums may change.
  • If you already have an FSAFEDS account, it will not continue automatically. You must re-enroll.
  • You can’t enroll, change your enrollment, or cancel your coverage in these programs outside the open season unless you experience a qualifying life event.

If you want to make a change, then the procedure depends on your agency or retirement system. Current employees can use one of various automated systems, depending on where they work. If you’re using a paper form, then submit form SF 2809 to your benefits specialist in human resources.

If you’re retired and your benefits are administered by OPM, then you can change your health benefit plan by using OPM's Open Season Online system, calling 800-332-9798, or mailing OPM Form 2809 to: Office of Personnel Management, Open Season Processing Center, P.O. Box 5000, Lawrence, KS 66046-0500.

If You’re Retiring

Your agency needs to document your health insurance coverage to continue your coverage into retirement. If your agency is unable to provide documentation of an employee’s entire FEHBP coverage history, then OPM must have proof of coverage during the five years of service immediately prior to retirement—or if less than five years, during all service in which you were eligible for FEHBP. 

Acceptable proof of coverage includes: 

  • SF 2809 (Health Benefits Election Form) or other enrollment forms 
  • SF 2810 (Notice of Change in Health Benefits Enrollment) 
  • History reports from online enrollments that show both the old plan and new plan, and the effective dates for each change 
  • Copies of screen shots or other documentation from online enrollments that show both the old plan and new plan, and the effective date for each change 
  • Evidence of coverage as a family member under another’s FEHBP enrollment
  • Evidence of TRICARE/CHAMPUS enrollment (including evidence of coverage as a family member) 
  • A signed memorandum from the agency detailing the continuous coverage of the employee to prove they meet the five-year requirement

Changes made by employees who are retiring before the first pay period of the new year may not take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, but OPM will process them as quickly as possible and coverage will be retroactive to Jan. 1. In the meantime, use your current coverage until the new coverage is in place. Your SF 2809 enrollment form should be included with your retirement package, not processed by your agency.