Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
Coming up: The dullest, most important weekend of the year
Friday - 12/6/2013, 2:00am EST
1) You are part of the 95 percent of the federal family that, for whatever reason, don't take part in the annual health-insurance hunting season. They (you) either stay in the same plan year after year out of inertia, loyalty or confusion despite the fact that experts say 20 to 30 percent should switch each open season.
2) You are either one of the busiest people in the U.S. government, or you are a card-carrying (brochure-loving) nerd who always waits until the last minute to make one of the most important decisions of the year: Which health plan will cover me and family members in the coming year? Your call.
The buck is about to stop here. This weekend, with you.
You have until close-of-business Monday to pick your 2014 health plan or remain a possibly uninformed prisoner in your current plan. It may be great. But its premiums may have gone up, your doctor may be leaving its network next year and you may be able to get similar coverage at a lower premium quicker than you can say Blue Cross standard vs. Blue Cross basic.
By picking (or sticking with) the wrong plan you can easily pay $1,000 to $2,000 more in premiums than is necessary for excellent coverage.
On the other hand, by skimping on premiums or choosing two self only plans instead of the higher-premium family version, you could be opening yourself up to massive medical bills and tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs that must be made out of your pocket.
Since the open season started, we've run a series of columns with advice from the experts. Walton Francis, author of Consumers' Checkbook's Guide to Federal Health Plans, has been on each of our weekly Your Turn radio shows. Lots of good information and lots of questions answered. The good news is all of the shows are archived on our home page. To listen, click here.
Spending an hour with any of the shows should answer your questions. We also got a big assist from David Snell, director of benefits at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees association. His advice about Medicare Part B and the FEHBP is worth considering.
So, if you haven't acted on your health plan choices yet, take a couple of hours this weekend. Also it is possible your agency has subscribed for you to the online version of Checkbook. Which means you can shop at the office.
Whatever you do, at least check out your options. It could save you some money in premiums and staggering amounts in catastrophic illness/accident bills you won't have to pay next year: If you pick the right plan now!
You can also check out recent columns that will tell you how to guarantee you have health insurance in retirement (the five-year rule), the dangers of a fed couple having two self-only plans plus top tips for shopping. Read a little, save a lot:
- Sorry, your retirement date is extended
- His and her health plans? Not so fast
- Top 3 Tips for Open Season
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
Compiled by Jack Moore
Don't call it purple. The 2014 Color of the Year is "Radiant Orchid." That's according to color-matching company Pantone, which describes the colors as "an enchanting harmony of fuchsia purple and pink undertones." The company has selected an annual color since 2000.
(Source: The Washington Post)
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
AFGE, NTEU try to stave off
changes to retirement benefits
The two employee unions say lawmakers shouldn't make up for sequestration cuts by forcing federal employees to contribute more to their retirement. House and Senate legislators are working on a small-scale budget deal that reportedly includes a provision to alter federal retirement benefits.
OPM tweaks snow-closure
policy, with added push for telework
With the official start of winter just two weeks away, the Office of Personnel Management is tweaking its closure and dismissal guidelines. The updated policy changes the way OPM will communicate delayed arrivals and continues to call on agencies to ensure all federal employees who are telework-ready actually do so when OPM gives the say-so during inclement weather.
Even as federal
retirements continue declining, OPM processing nosedives
For the fifth month in a row, fewer federal employees than expected filed for retirement, according to new data from the Office of Personnel Management. However, OPM's efforts at processing federal-employee retirement applications also took a nosedive last month. OPM processed just 5,700 claims in November, less than half of what it predicted it would and nearly half the number of cases the agency cleared last month.