The Federal Employees Health Benefits program offers a wide variety of plans and coverages to help federal employees meet their health care needs. Consumer driven and high deductible plans offer catastrophic risk protection with higher deductibles, health savings/reimbursable accounts and lower premiums. Health Maintenance Organizations and fee-for-service plans offer comprehensive coverage with higher premiums.
All nationwide FEHB plans offer international coverage. There are no waiting periods and no pre-existing condition limitations, even if an employee changes plans. Employees can enroll in health benefits plans if they are a newly hired, rehired or new eligible employee. Employees can also enroll during the annual Open Season or if they experience a qualifying life event.
Health insurance enrollments must be performed electronically via the Government Retirement & Benefits Platform web application
The GRB Platform is a web-based application that allows employees to make changes and updates to their health insurance, life insurance, Thrift Savings Plan and other personal benefit information.
Employees can access the GRB Platform application through AFPC Secure by selecting the “GRB Platform” application link.
HEALTH BENEFITS FOR NEWLY HIRED AND REHIRED EMPLOYEES
New employees and rehires on eligible appointments have 60 days from the date of the appointment to sign up for health benefits. If employees do not make an election, they are considered to have declined coverage and must wait until the next Open Season or qualifying life event to enroll.
Enrollment in health insurance must be accomplished electronically via the GRB Platform.
Enrollment is retroactive to the date of hire since an employee must have been in a pay status during some part of the pay period which precedes the one in which the enrollment becomes effective. Once this requirement has been met, the enrollment will become effective at the beginning of the next pay period after the enrollment has been processed through the GRB Platform.
Employees can obtain a copy of the Standard Form 2809, Health Benefits Election Form, from the GRB Platform to use as proof of health benefits coverage until they receive enrollment cards from the health benefits carrier.
For more information, consult the Guide to Federal Benefits For Federal Civilian Employees (RI 70-1) on the Office of Personnel Managements website at https://www.opm.gov/. OPM also provides a Plan Comparison Tool which enables employees to search available plans by zip code.
HEALTH BENEFITS PREMIUM CONVERSION
Premium conversion is a "pre-tax" arrangement where part of the employee’s salary that goes for health insurance premiums is listed as non-taxable. With the premium conversion, employees can save on their federal income tax, Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes and, in most cases, on state and local income taxes. Premium conversion is automatic unless employees waive participation by submitting the "Premium Conversion Waiver/Election Form" at the same time they submit for FEHB enrollment.
Please note: If employees elect to participate in premium conversion they cannot cancel or change their FEHB enrollment to “self-only” anytime they want. Instead, they must wait for the next Open Season or experience a qualifying life event that corresponds with the desired change.