Dear AFSPA Member,
With the holiday season fast approaching, many of you are likely busy preparing for the festivities and planning for the upcoming year. It’s worth noting that this month marks the start of Open Season, which is an excellent opportunity to review your benefits and consider how you and your family can make the most of them in 2024. In addition, we invite you to explore the Ancillary Insurance Programs (AIP) such as dental, life, critical illness, and disability insurance and consider adding them to your health portfolio next year.
The Open Season enrollment period this year is from November 13th to December 11th, 2023. During this period, you have the chance to make changes to your Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Program enrollment, your Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) enrollment, and your Federal Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS) enrollment. If you are already a member of the Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) and are satisfied with your coverage, there is no need to take any action, as your coverage will automatically carry over each year. Keep an eye out for your Open Season packets arriving in your mailbox or email inbox.
AFSPA will be holding several Open Season webinars with live Q&A sessions scheduled at different times to accommodate members around the world. These webinars will provide an overview of the FEHB, OPM’s initiatives, and FSBP‘s 2024 benefit enhancements. To register for an Open Season webinar, visit afspa.org/openseason or afspa.org/events. We highly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity and attend one of these informative webinars.
What’s new for 2024
As we move forward into 2024, we are excited to introduce new benefits, programs, and changes that we believe will enhance your experience with us. Some of the noteworthy FSBP expanded benefits and changes include expanded infertility benefits, enhanced coverage for chiropractic and alternative benefits, enhanced benefits for gender-affirming care services, a new program, Maven, offering women’s health support across fertility, pregnancy, adoption, parenting, pediatrics, and even perimenopause and menopause. You can learn more about these enhancements at afspa.org/openseason.
In addition, we are introducing a new FSBP-Express Scripts Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), specifically designed for FSBP Medicare-eligible members aged 65 and above. Unlike our Medicare Advantage Plan, which is a very good option in its own right, our new PDP does not require enrollment in Medicare Part A and/or B. The PDP plan is designed for members to receive substantial savings on prescription drugs. If you want to know more about this plan, I suggest watching a recording of a webinar we held yesterday, which provides an overview of the plan.
National Long Term Care Awareness Month
November is Long Term Care (LTC) Awareness Month. Beginning in 2024, the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) will increase premium rates for its existing enrollees. To assist enrollees in dealing with this increase, OPM has scheduled an Enrollee Decision Period from September 11 to November 9. During this period, enrollees can review their coverage and choose to either accept or mitigate the impact of the increase.
AFSPA has conducted conversations regarding this change, and we invite you to listen to our recent podcast with Tammy Flanagan, a federal retiree, and benefits expert from Retire Federal. In this episode, she explains the basics of LTC insurance, how the federal program operates, what these rate increases may indicate, and the choices available to LTCFEDS enrollees as these changes occur. You can listen to this informative episode here. We also hosted a live Q&A session recently, where Tammy answered questions from members. You can listen to the recording of our live Q&A session about FLTCIP here.
In addition, AFSPA has partnered with two highly experienced professional consultant groups – Long-Term Care Consultants, Inc. and Signature Financial Partners, LLC – to help you find the best, most affordable LTC options for your needs. Each group offers 20+ years of experience in the LTC industry and is available to consult with you whether you reside in the U.S. or abroad.
The Great American Smokeout®
Quitting smoking is tough, but it’s a journey worth taking. Start with day one and use The Great American Smokeout® event in November to help you quit. Thousands of people join in to reduce cancer risk and improve health. Get counseling or medication to double your chances of success. The American Cancer Society provides support and resources you need to quit.
FSBP provides various programs to help individuals manage their tobacco addiction. One of these programs is the Tobacco Cessation Program, which allows individuals to receive FDA-approved prescription and over-the-counter drugs to treat tobacco dependence free of charge with a doctor’s prescription. We also offer additional support programs, such as our digital coach program and our Lifestyle and Condition Coaching program. To learn more about our programs, please visit our website.
Please continue to connect with us to learn more about how you can maximize your benefits and coverage through our weekly blogs, podcasts, social media platforms, and free educational webinars. You can also read past issues of our newsletters on our website, which consist of Plan updates and other important health topics and information.
Last month, our AFSPA Talks podcast focused on women’s health, the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program, and the Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. If you missed the conversation, you can catch up on all podcast episodes at afspatalks.buzzsprout.com. This month, our podcast topics will focus on Open Season and FSBP’s 2024 benefits and coverage, so stay tuned!
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s a time to come together with family, reflect on our good fortune, and acknowledge how fortunate we are to celebrate this American holiday. Our entire AFSPA team is passionate about serving you, and we sincerely thank you for your service to our country. We are grateful for your continued trust and the opportunity to serve you.
Have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!
To Your Health,
Paula S. Jakub, RHU