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By Judith Welles

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Open season for health

Open season for health, dental and vision benefits will be November 13 to December 11 this year. Rates for health plans will rise an overall average of some 2.1 percent but some plans will get a stiffer increase than others. Rates for dental and vision plans, known as FEDVIP, will also rise. The Office of Personnel Management has a Web site for information on federal benefits. The National Active and Retired Federal Employee (NARFE) association is troubled by the disparity between the government/employer and enrollee share of premiums. For example, in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield standard option family plan, the government share increased by 2.3 percent while enrollees will see their out-of-pocket premiums rise by 8.5 percent. Premiums for the popular dental insurance program, instituted only a year ago, will also rise sharply by 6.1 percent. With no government contribution, federal workers pay the entire premium for their health and dental care plan on a pre-tax basis. Federal retirees pay the entire premium with no tax benefit. NARFE and the National Treasury Employees Union are asking Congress to approve legislation that would extend to federal civilian and military retirees the same right to pay health insurance premiums on a pre-tax basis So how well have the new vision and dental benefits worked? Initially the signup for the new benefits was a nightmare with Web site glitches. But for most of us, some insurance is better than none and the FEDVIP benefits help.

Posted by Judith Welles on Sep 25, 2007 at 12:13 PM


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