It’s that time of year again and we all know that our health care premiums, in most cases, will be going up. The (FEHB) Program premiums  will increase by 3.4 percent in 2013, which is lower than last year’s increase of 3.8 percent. The average premium increase for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)  will be less than 1 percent and there are no significant benefit changes for 2013.
OPM recently reported that “on average, FEHB Program enrollees with self only coverage will pay $2.75 more per bi-weekly pay period, and enrollees with family coverage will pay $6.39 more. Premiums for Health Maintenance Organizations will increase an average of 5.3 percent, while Fee-for-Service plans will see an average increase of 3.0 percent.”
When I went online recently to request provider brochures through https://retireefehb.opm.gov , OPM’s FEHB Open Season Online service, it wouldn’t accept the user name and password that I established last year. I quickly discovered that you must register for each new open season, which only took a minute or two to complete. To register you will need your Annuity Claim Number and they will ask you to enter a unique user name and password to activate your account. I registered last year to request plan brochures that arrived about a week later. After reviewing the plans, I decided on the GEHA plan for our area and my wife and I have been pleased with the plans services to date. The nice thing about this service is that you can easily make plan changes online without having to complete and mail a form plus you get instant confirmation of your change through email.
You can request up to 8 FEHB plan brochures to be sent to you or you can view and download them online . Just click on Open Season and look for the “2013 Plan Brochures and Rate Links” that I posted on our site. I prefer the hard copies just to get away from the computer and most of the brochures are 50 to 100 plus pages that will deplete your toner or ink jet cartridges rather quickly. If you prefer you can also call Open Season Express direct at 1-800-332-9798 to request brochures and makes changes.
You can’t order FEDVIP, Vision and Dental Plan brochures , or make changes to your Vision and Dental benefits on the FEHB site listed earlier in this article. You have to go to www.BENEFEDS.com , register if you haven’t already, and view the individual provider brochures online or call each provider to request a copy through the mail. You don’t have to register each year like you do for the FEHB site. I called my dental provider for a copy of their brochure and they said it would take up to 15 days for it to arrive so make your requests early. You can always view plan brochures online to save time. If you don’t need to make a change you do nothing however if you want to change plans within a group or change the provider you must do so through the BENEFEDS web site.
Direct Deposit Changes
A site visitor was having problems changing their annuity check’s direct deposit. They changed banks and were unable to get through to OPM’s toll free number. This is a recurring problem and there are ways around this .
To enroll in Direct Deposit or to change your enrollment to a new account, OPM needs to know the routing number of the financial institution and your account number. The financial institution will provide this information. Once you have your account and routing numbers call OPM at 1-888-767-6738 or 1-202-606-0500 to make this change by phone or initiate it online through OPM’s retirement system at http://www.servicesonline.opm.gov . To process your request online you have to first establish an account using your Civil Service Annuity number.
The financial institution can also submit a SF 1199A form , available from the Treasury Department, to OPM for processing your direct deposit. Use the new form dated August 2012.
Form: Print a copy of the SF 1199A 
Financial institutions must fax the form for retirees to 1-724-794-6633 or send the completed form for retirees to the address listed below; active federal employees have to provide the banking institution with their agency’s payroll office address.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Federal Employees Retirement System
P.O. Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017-0045
We have this Direct Deposit information with links  listed on our site. Bookmark it for future reference.
Retiree Job Opportunities
Several companies and state government departments recently posted jobs on our site  to attract federal retirees. You will find jobs ranging from EHS Managers, part time sourcing specialists, to Petroleum Engineers . Many other opportunities exist for those looking to supplement their retirement income or to start a second career. We provide this free job listing service to companies that are seeking to hire experienced retired federal workers.
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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 article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change.
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