The federal employees with dental or vision needs have to decide whether to enroll in a dental or vision insurance plan offered through the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program. The Federal Employee Dental and Vision Benefits Enhancement Act of 2004 provided the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) the chance to establish arrangements under which supplemental dental and vision plans are made available to federal employees, retirees, and their dependents.
The dental and vision benefits are available to all the eligible federal employees and annuitants, and to their family members through an enrollee-pay-all basis. Under this program, FEDVIP allows federal employees to purchase federal dental and vision plans on a group basis, which means there is no competitive premium and no pre-existing condition limitations. The premiums paid by the federal employees to the FEDVIP plans are always withheld from the employee’s gross salary.
Process and Plan details
The enrollment process of FEDVIP takes place every year during the annual federal benefits open season, which is held between the month of November and December. New and rehired employees can enroll within the 60 days after they are hired. The FEDVIP’s open season was held last year between the 14th of November and lasted till 12th of December. Federal employees who enroll in a Federal dental plan or vision plan can change their plan or remain in their existing plan based on their preferences and the coverage becomes effective from the January 1st of the upcoming year. The insurance premiums will also be deducted from the first paycheck, which they receive in the month of January.
The FEDVIP lets federal employees or annuitants enroll in the plan as self only, self plus one eligible family member, or self and family coverage. Under the family coverage, the eligible family members include the employee’s spouse and unmarried dependent children who are under the age 22. Under certain situations, the coverage may extend for a disabled child over 22 years of age and who is incapable of self support. You should also remember that the FEDVIP and FEHB rules for member eligibility are not the same. For example, in a FEDVIP plan once the child becomes 22, the child can no longer become eligible for the parent’s FEDVIP plan, whereas in FEHB a child can remain a member of the parent’s FEHB plan till the age of 26. There are also a lot of other differences between a FEHB program and FEDVIP program.
Points to consider before enrolling in the FEDVIP plan
Before the federal employees or annuitants decide about enrolling in a FEDVIP plan, they should ask themselves the following questions
Do they or any of their family member is expected to experience a significant dental or vision expense during the year? If the answer to this question is No, then getting a dental or vision insurance becomes an unnecessary expense.
Assuming that the federal employee or the members of the family is expected to experience a important dental or vision expense during the year, then consider if there are any other option that could make more financial sense. For example, using a health care flexible spending account (HCFSA), a limited expense flexible spending account (LEXFSA) or a health savings account (HSA) can sometimes seem to be more beneficial than enrolling in a FEDVIP plan.
The FEDVIP premiums are deducted in full from the employee’s gross salary without any agency contribution. So the federal employee can compare the premium rates offered by other private insurance agency. American Marketing Administrators (AMA) is an experienced group of insurance agents that offer various dental and vision insurance plans. The AMA also offers federal Aflac plans to suit the employees’ medical needs and budget. AMA helps you to get the best treatment at the lowest premium. But one main advantage of enrolling in a FEDVIP plan is that both the dental and vision premiums are deducted from the salary so it results in tax savings for the employee.
The most important factor to be considered by the employee is that, they should check out with their dentist, optometrist, ophthalmologist and optician, whether they accept the FEDVIP plan. If they are not accepting, then enrolling in the FEDVIP plan is not worth the cost.