Last chance to blow $2,000

Federal workers and retirees have little time to miss another deadline and lose, as in overpay up to $2,000, on next year’s health premiums. All they have to do to ensure loser status for insurance premiums is nothing. Ignore open season (which runs through Dec. 13). Stay in the same health plan you’ve belonged to since the Carter administration. Don’t even consider leaving the high or standard option of your favorite plan since Friends or the Fresh Prince of Belair topped the TV charts.

Most private sector companies offer minimum choices, minimum premium sharing and zero help to workers during their open seasons. Not Uncle Sam. When it comes to a helping health plan hand, the federal government can’t be beat. The Office of Personnel Management offers an excellent website which helps workers navigate the various plans, options and premiums. Most agencies now offer (free to employees) the Consumer Checkbook guide to federal health plans. Its long-time editor Walton Francis sorts out the best deal for workers, retirees or survivor annuitants. You can check to see if your doctor is in network and find out other things that should be a factor in deciding on your 2022 health plan.

To kick off open season, Walt Francis will be my guest today on Your Turn. He’ll answer questions and give you a checklist of what to do during this open season. That will include things like health plans that offer HSAs (health savings accounts) for employees. Some of them who have been in HSA plan for years now have accounts of $50.000.