Procrastinators of the world unite!

Are you the type who starts Christmas shopping on Dec. 24?

Is the faucet in your house/apartment now in its seventh month of steady drip, drip, dripping?

Are you waiting for the CDC to declare a nationwide outbreak before you get your flu shot?

Still trying to decide which health plan to sign up for?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above, welcome to the club. Ditto if you are a fed or retiree who still hasn’t decided what — if anything — to do about your 2016 health coverage. Many of your colleagues are card-carrying club members. The downside is that the overcrowded proscastinators boat is leaking. About to sink, as in time is running out. Monday is the deadline for picking your 2016 health plan. And it’s Friday.

There is a slim (as in very slim) chance that the deadline for picking your FEHBP might be extended. IF that happens (and extensions are extremely rare) it would be because the government is swamped with requests for information or assistance from bewildered workers and isolated retirees.If you are still trying to decide which health plan to pick. But don’t count on it.

During past open seasons only 4 percent to 6 percent of people eligible to change plans or options did so. That’s despite the fact that maybe as many as half the people in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan  should switch. Either because benefits in their current plan are changing, their doctor is leaving their plans’ network, or premiums are too high. Program experts say that many workers and retirees could get equal (sometimes even better) coverage by switching to a different option, with lower premiums, in their current plan.

While its a little late in the game  — barring an extension — there is still time. Over the course of the open season, Federal News Radio has had a series of columns (like this) devoted to “best buys.” We also had radio shows (which are archived on our homepage) featuring Walton Francis, editor of Consumers Checkbook Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees and Annuitants, and David Snell, director of retirement benefits for the National Active and Retired Federal Employees.

In yesterday’s column,  NARFE provided a link which lets members and nonmembers access its special health plan buyers guide.

Bottom line is that while it is late in the game, you still have time. The message, from the experts, is that everybody should shop around. And for people considering the new self-plus-one option why not take it one step further and at least consider other plans, or options within your current plan.

Ready. Set. Deactivate the Inertia button and get it done.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

Procrastinators often have weakened immune systems.


More from Federal News Radio

    Federal News Radio pinwheel icon

    Senate approves short-term spending bill

    Read more
    Barack Obama

    Obama likely to sign SES executive order next week

    Read more