Posted on Saturday, 26th November 2011 by

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Rosemary, a subscriber to our Retirement Planning News Letter, asked for clarification for requesting FEHB open season plan brochures on OPM’s new web site. I mentioned that the web site was easy to use in my article on the FEHB Open Season last week. She visited the site and was confused by the numbers that are used to identify the various plans in her area.

To determine what your plan’s codes are, the 2 digit codes in front of the plan name, print out the “Open Season Health Benefits Guide” for your area that is provided on OPM’s site. The first two digits of each plan’s 3 digit code, as listed in this guide, are the numbers you need to identify the correct plan to request online.

Go to, register, and then click on the “Open Seasons Federal benefit Guide” link on the left side of the page in the white space. Select your state and then print out the 6 page brochure. This guide lists available plans with comparisons for your location. All plans for your area are listed with a three digit code. The first two digits of each plan are used to identify the plan number for the brochures you select to have sent to you.

I found the site and process to request brochures by mail easy to use. Retirees can order plan brochures for their area using the following procedure:

1)      Go to (Register if you haven’t already)

2)      Download and review your “Open Season Health Benefits Guide”

3)      Click on “Brochures” on the upper left side of the home page in blue

4)      Click on “Mail Brochures” on the lower right bottom of this page

5)      Select your state from the drop down list

6)      Identify plan brochures (The first 2 of the 3 numbers for each plan listed in the Open Season Benefits Guide are used to order plans)

You can also view and print out copies online at this site if you prefer. Review my FEHB Open Season article and our site’s FEHB Guide for more information on this subject.


1) OPM Retirement Processing Backlog (Update)

OPM is working to resolve the backlog problem. John Berry, the OPM Director, recently told Congress that 60,000 retirement applications are currently in process up from 38,000 last October. The backlog continues to grow as over 9,600 new retirement cases are added each month. OPM can only process 7,700 cases a month with current staffing levels. The backlog is expected to more than double by 2014.

OPM claims examiners are processing 3.5 cases a day on average and the average time to process a retirement start to finish is about 133 days.

The good news is that OPM has hired 35 new claims examiners and plans hiring 40 more in the near future. The committee suggested possibly rehiring retirees to help with the workload. This problem could get much worse as agencies offer VERA early outs to address their budget shortfalls. There are things that you can do to help avoid problems with your retirement. Follow the steps that I outlined in my article titled “Could You Survive on Interim Retirement Checks” when submitting your retirement paperwork.

2) Requesting a Letter From the President for Retirees

The process changed and the new guidance including format and routing information is now available online. We also updated the information for requesting flags and retiree gifts such as agency logo mugs and other presentations.

3) FREE Copies of Take Charge of Your Federal Career

Receive a FREE copy of Take Charge of Your Federal Career (a $29.95 value) when federal employees order my new Federal Resume Guide and only pay an additional $4.95 handling charge + shipping. Limited to 1 Free Copy per Order. Take Charge of Your Federal Career helps employees in mid career to within 5 years of retirement target higher paying jobs to increase their retirement annuity and TSP savings.

Learn more about your benefitsemployment, travel, and financial planning issues on our site and visit our Blog frequently at to read all forum articles.

Request a FREE Retirement Benefits Summary Analysis from a local adviser. Includes projected annuity payments, income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections. A sample analysis is available for your review. This service is not affiliated with

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The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our articles are not intended nor should they be considered investment advice. Our reply is time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change.

Last 5 posts by Dennis Damp


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