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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Nov. 6, 2023

Healthcare Open Season, Nov. 13-Dec. 11, is a time for military and federal civilians to review healthcare coverage

By Kyle Ford, MyCG Writer

Federal Benefits Open Season is just around the corner, Nov. 13 – Dec. 11, and the Coast Guard Retirement and Benefits Service Center (RBSC) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) have the tools to help.  

Now is the time to make informed decisions about your health, dental, vision, or flexible spending accounts, whether you are active duty with TRICARE or a government civilian with Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB).  

If you make no changes, your current enrollment in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB), TRICARE and Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) will continue; but there may be changes in coverage or premiums. Be sure to you check the 2024 plan brochures for any changes. However, Federal Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAFEDS) must be renewed each year you are participating.  

Active duty and retired servicemembers, civilians, and family members  

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) 

Civilians, active duty, retired members (both active or reserve) and their families, may opt for supplemental dental and vision care through FEDVIP. There are many carrier options within the program therefore care, coverage and cost will vary.  

You can compare vision and dental plans with the FEDVIP tool on the BENEFEDS site to help you choose which plan is right for you. that will help you compare the various plans and carrier providers. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) also has an Open Season site to help people learn about the programs.  

To enroll, change, or cancel your enrollment in a FEDVIP plan, visit the BENEFEDS website or call (877) 888-3337. The FEDVIP plans will send confirmation of open season enrollments to enrollees by mid-January. 

Civilians and Family members 

Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) 

FEHB provides various coverage for you and your family. You can choose from among Consumer-Driven and High Deductible plans, health savings/reimbursable accounts and lower premiums, or Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans, and their Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) if you live (or sometimes if you work) within the area serviced by the plan.  

With so many choices, it can seem daunting to select a healthcare plan. Fear not, there are several tools available that can help make this important decision easier. OPM’s Plan Search Tool is used to find and compare all the plans that are available to you.  

OPM has discontinued both the printed and online versions of The Guide to Federal Benefits. Information regarding individual plans can be found at FEHB Plan Information for 2024

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to two or three plans, read the brochures. All the carriers are required to format their brochures identically, which makes it easier for you to compare various plan details. Click here for links to the FEHB Plan brochures and websites

To enroll in an FEHB plan or to make changes to your FEHB enrollment during the open season, you must use My EPP. Select Health Insurance from the menu, then the Self-Service button.  

Enrollments and changes made during open season will become effective Jan. 14, 2024. If you enroll or change your enrollment during open season, you should keep a copy of the My EPP confirmation. This copy acts as proof of enrollment until you receive an ID card from your health plan carrier. If you do not receive an ID card within 30-days of your effective date, please contact your carrier directly.  

Federal Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAFEDS) 

FSAFEDS can help you save money by allowing you to set aside pre-tax funds to pay for eligible out-of-pocket dependent-care and healthcare expenses:  

  • The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) reimburses non-medical expenses associated with childcare or adult day care. The maximum limit is $5,000.  
  • The Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) reimburses eligible health care expenses. The maximum limit is $3,050.  
  • Employees covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA) may enroll in a Limited Expense HCFSA (LEX HCFSA) for their eligible dental and vision expenses. The maximum limit is $3,050 

Additionally, participants, can carry over up to $610 in account balances from one plan year to the next if: 

  • They are employed by a FSAFEDS-participating agency and contributing to a Health Care FSA or Limited Expense Health Care FSA account through December 31; and 
  • Reenroll for the next benefit period. If you do not reenroll, you forfeit your right to a carryover account. 

Take the time to review your last year’s medical expenses. Did you underestimate your out-of-pocket health and dependent care costs and put aside too little in your flexible spending account? Did you overestimate your healthcare costs? If so, you may need to adjust the amount of your flexible spending account next year. There is a calculator available to help you determine how much money to set aside.  

To participate in 2024, you must re-enroll annually. If you choose not to participate, you are missing out on potential tax savings. You must reenroll each open season to continue your participation in FSAFEDS.  

To enroll during open season, log in to your online account, click Enrollment, and follow the step-by-step instructions, or call 1-877-372-3337. FSA elections will be effective on January 1, 2024. If you already have an FSA account, it will NOT continue automatically.  

For more information on the FSAFEDS Program, visit FSAFEDS. If you have questions about your FSA eligibility, contact your Servicing HR Specialist or Retirement and Benefits Specialist.

Service members and family 


For TRICARE, members and your families can participate in open season (Nov. 13-Dec. 12) if you’re currently enrolled in, or eligible for a TRICARE Prime option, including a United States Family Health Plan (USFHP), or TRICARE Select. If you aren't currently enrolled in a TRICARE Prime option or TRICARE Select and would like to enroll in one of those plans, you can visit the eligibility page to learn more. You can also enroll online through milConnect or by contacting your regional contractor or designated provider at the following numbers: 

Check the TRICARE Plan Finder tool to see which plans you may be eligible to enroll in. Remember if you are not already in a plan and you do not enroll during open season, you will only be eligible for care at military hospitals or clinics depending on space. Review TRICARE’s website for more information.  


To assist with these important decisions, a series of informational webinars are available throughout open season. Click on the register link as each registration page includes an overview of that particular session along with special guests that will join.  

Navigating the Virtual Benefits Fair 

November 7, 2 p.m. Eastern Time 

The Virtual Benefits Fair is an online health fair where military families can browse Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) exhibits, download plan brochures, and connect with program representatives via chat. In this brief webinar, we will provide an overview of the participating FEDVIP carriers and show you how to navigate the fair, including accessing the uniformed services resource booth. We will share tips to help you get the most from your visit and answer frequently asked questions.  

Military Families: Shop, Enroll, and Manage Your Dental and Vision Insurance with the FEDVIP 
November 16, 2 p.m. Eastern Time 

Certain members of the uniformed services are eligible for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), including retired uniformed service members and their families, active-duty family members, and National Guard and Reserve Component members and their families. In this webinar, we will review eligibility, plan options, and online tools, as well as discuss the choices you have when enrolling in FEDVIP during the Federal Benefits Open Season. We will also review how to access FEDVIP information and chat with plan representatives through our Virtual Benefits Fair. 

Webcasts include a Q&A session with presenters. Each webinar will be available on-demand after the live presentation is over. 

Virtual Benefits Fair 

Nov. 13 – Dec. 11 

The Virtual Benefits Fair held by BENEFEDS includes information and live Q&A sessions from multiple carriers and also include information about FEDVIP and FSAFEDS. These fairs are available 24/7 during the entire Open Season.  

You can access the fair being held by BENEFEDS by registering online, confirming your email address, and setting a secure password. All benefits programs will be represented with at least some carriers (i.e., Blue Cross Blue Shield, AETNA, Delta Dental, GEHA, etc.)  

Representatives from all participating carriers will be available to take your questions during four live chat days on November 14, 21, 30 and December 7. Each live chat day will be from 10am – 5pm (ET).