Open Season crunch time: What to do NOW

Friday - 12/9/2011, 11:33am EST

Ann Vanderslice, federal benefits specialist

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By Jolie Lee
@jleewfed
Federal News Radio

Federal employees have until the close of business Monday to make a change to their plan under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

With time so short, federal benefits specialist Ann Vanderslice joined The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris with some last-minute tips.

She said feds who still have work to do on making a decision can start by checking out these websites:

One common mistake is feds only consider the premium, Vanderslice said. She said feds should also look at their individual circumstances and don't forget to check out the catastrophic limits for plans they are considering.

If you are "fairly healthy," you might want to consider a less expensive plan. For example, about 60 percent of feds are in some version of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Vanderslice said. If you are currently in the standard plan, switching to the basic plan will save you 35 percent in premiums, she said.

If you have had some health change, or the premium of your current plan has gone up, it's also time to consider another plan, Vanderslide said.

"If you really haven't looked at your health care for the past three to four years and you've had any kind of a change — either health-wise or maybe you've had children go off your plan or maybe you've had change in marital status — you should really take the weekend ... And dig into it and see if there's a better plan," Vanderslice said.

She added, "You could save yourself, literally, over a thousand dollars."

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