Open Season 2024 offered new benefits, higher premiums and lots of advice on how feds can save on their health insurance

Open Season 2024 offered new benefits, higher premiums and lots of advice on how feds can save on their health insurance fstop123 / Getty Images

5 highlights of the 2024 Open Season

Open Season for the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program may be over, but it was still filled with new additions and best practices for federal employees and beneficiaries to keep an eye on. Here are some of the highlights.

The season for employees and beneficiaries to enroll or change their coverage in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program has drawn to a close. 

From improved fertility and prescription drug coverage to the best ways to save money on your benefits selections, Government Executive’s columnists broke down the best advice for navigating what the FEHB has to offer in 2024. 

What’s new to the FEHB

This year’s benefits included coverage of artificial insemination procedures and IVF-related fertility drugs, with cost share in some plans as much as a 50% coinsurance. FEHB’s 17 policies also provided a new Medicare Part D prescription drug plan for members, with those enrolled in Medicare Part A or Medicare Parts A & B auto-enrolled in the new coverage, depending on their insurance carrier. Along with the new coverage, premiums also continued to rise, albeit lower than last year’s increase of 8.7%.

Review your options for tax savings gains

Choosing the right health plan can help save money while still offering great coverage. Tammy Flanagan said utilizing High Deductible Health Plans and Flexible Spending Accounts are a great way to lower your taxable income, while married federal employees or retirees without dependents can save by using two individual self only plans.  

Medicare Advantage or Disadvantage?

While FEHB began offering Medicare Advantage benefits in 2021, only a small fraction of Medicare eligible federal retirees who are enrolled in both Parts A and B have capitalized on it. Medicare Advantage — also known as Medicare Part C — can provide Parts A and B coverage mixed with some Part D prescription drug and other benefits, mixed with some restrictions, that federal employees should explore. 

Savings can be found in benefits changes

While less than 5% of feds actually elect to make any change in their benefits, according to the Office of Personnel Management, hundreds or thousands of dollars in savings could be available by updating your coverage to reflect your current situation.

The final Open Season checklist

Above all, federal employees and retirees confirm their benefits and eligibility for the 156 FEHB plans available, pay attention to Section 2 of the FEHB Plan Brochure and watch yearly cost estimates to pick plans and other tips.