This post includes Open Season information, Plan Changes, 2021 TSP Elective Deferral Limit and the New Spillover Method for TSP Catch-Up. Please see the links included below for more information:
Federal Benefits Open Season begins Today!
Open Season began, Monday, November 9 and will run through Monday, December 14. It is the time of the year to make decisions about and reevaluate your benefits options. During this period, you can take the actions below regarding the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS), Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), and the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.
- Enroll in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – a health care and/or dependent care account, under the FSAFEDS Program. Unlike with other programs, employees MUST reenroll in FSAFEDS each year to participate. Enrollments DO NOT automatically continue from year to year. For more information or to enroll or renew coverage, please contact 1-877-372-3337 or visit www.fsafeds.com.
- Enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a dental plan under the FEDVIP Program. If you are happy with your current enrollment, do nothing, and your coverage will automatically continue. To enroll, change or cancel your coverage please contact 1-877-888-3337 or visit www.BENEFEDS.com.
- Enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a vision plan under the FEDVIP Program. If you are happy with your current enrollment, do nothing, and your coverage will automatically continue. To enroll, change or cancel your coverage please contact 1-877-888-3337 or visit www.BENEFEDS.com.
- TRICARE-eligible members of the uniformed services and their families can enroll in FEDVIP. Uniformed services retirees and their families may enroll in a FEDVIP dental plan. Uniformed services retirees and their families, as well as active duty family members, can enroll in a FEDVIP vision plan if they have also enrolled in a TRICARE health plan. More information is available at TRICARE.BENEFEDS.com.
- Enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a health plan under the FEHB Program. Please make sure to check your current plan for any plan changes. If you are happy with your current enrollment, do nothing, and your coverage will automatically continue. To see all plans available to you, review your current plan options and what changes have been made, or to compare plans side-by-side to determine which plan better meets your needs, visit www.opm.gov/fehbcompare. Changes to enrollment can be made on your MyPay or by completing a SF-2809-Health Benefits Election Form https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2809.pdf
For more information regarding the open enrollment period please see the attached flyer, go to the OPM website (https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/open-season).
Virtual Health Benefits Fair
The Virtual Benefits Fair is hosted by Long Term Care Partners, LLC, the administrator of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP), and BENEFEDS, the secure online portal to enroll in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP). The Fair will be available throughout open season beginning November 9. They will have live chats on November 13, November 20, December 2 and December 9.
Find the information you need to make decisions regarding your federal benefits this Open Season. Register using the link below:
New Plan Options Under FEDVIP for 2021
There are 10 new plans options in FEDVIP. That makes for a total of 23 dental plan options and 10 vision plan options in 2021 for employees to review during the upcoming Open Season. Please refer to Attachment 1: FEDVIP Significant Plan Changes for the list of the new 2021 FEDVIP plans and options.
Federal Health Benefits Plan Changes for 2021
There are several changes to the FEHB and Dental and Vision program this year. There are plans are leaving the FEHB and terminating coverage in specific coverage areas. Those impacted will receive a letter from their plan stating that it is no longer participating in the FEHB Program, is dropping an option, or is no longer providing services in their area. Employees in these terminating plans must enroll in a new plan during Open Season or they will be enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan option for 2021 as determined by OPM. If you are affected, please refer to Attachment 2: FEHB Significant Plan Changes and Attachment 3: FastFact, for more information.
New Coverage: Coverage under an enrollee’s new health plan will be effective the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after January 3, 2021; this will be Sunday, January 5, 2020. Enrollees will remain covered and receive the 2020 benefits of the old plan until coverage under the new plan becomes effective.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Elective Deferral Limit
The TSP contribution limit will remain $19,500 for the 2021 calendar year. This amount refers to the combined total of Traditional and Roth contributions into the TSP. Both CSRS and FERS employees may contribute to the TSP. However, only FERS employees are entitled to receive matching contributions and the matching is applied per pay period. Therefore, it is important for FERS employees not to reach the limit ($19,500) before the last pay date of the calendar year (December 24 for 2021). By reaching the limit too early employees will not receive all of the matching contributions that they would otherwise be entitled to receive. The best way to ensure no money is left on the table is to divide the elective deferral limit ($19,500) by the 26 pay periods in the calendar year. This amount would be approximately $750 per pay period starting December 19, 2020 (the beginning of pay period 26). Changes to TSP contributions can be made via MyPay or by completing a TSP-1, TSP Election Form (https://www.tsp.gov/forms/tsp-1.pdf). If you already are contributing this amount no change may be necessary.
For additional information regarding TSP Elective Deferral limits, go to https://www.tsp.gov/making-contributions/contribution-limits.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Catch-Up Contributions – New 2021 Spillover Method
In addition to regular TSP contributions, employees age 50 and older can make additional contributions. This would include employees who are within the year in which they turn age 50. For example, if an employee’s birthday is December 31 of a calendar year, that employee would be eligible in January of the same calendar year to contribute catch-up contributions. In order to participate in catch-up contributions, you must have met or plan to meet the elective deferral limit by the end of the calendar year. The catch-up contribution limit will remain $6,500 for 2021. With the new spillover method, employees will no longer need to make a new election at the beginning of each year and any additional contributions into the TSP fund over the elective deferral limit ($19,500), will spillover until the participant meets the catch-up limit ($6,500) for the calendar year. Therefore, if the participant is eligible to make catch-up contributions, anything beyond the elective deferral limit will automatically start counting toward the catch-up contribution limit. These additional contributions will “spill over” until the participant meets the catch-up limit for those age 50 or older. Contributions spilling over toward the catch-up limit will be matched, but only on up to the 5% of salary to which participants are already entitled.
Employees will no longer use Form TSP-1-C. Also participants will no longer need to make separate catch-up elections in MyPay each year. The TSP-1 form (https://www.tsp.gov/forms/tsp-1.pdf) can be used for both the regular TSP and Catch-up. If you wish to contribute the full $19,500 and the $6,500 for catch-up, you should divide the total amount ($26,000) by 26 pay periods and elect to contribute $1000 per pay period using MyPay or the TSP-1. This will ensure full matching and that the total eligible elective deferral limit is met for the calendar year. In summary, please see below:
- If you’re turning 50 or older and exceed the IRS elective deferral (or annual addition) limit, then your contributions will automatically start counting toward the IRS catch-up limit. Just add any contributions toward the catch-up limit in the same place as your other TSP contributions.
- Your election will carry over each year unless you submit a new one. For instructions on changing your contribution amount, see Start, change, or stop contributions.
- If you’re eligible for an agency or service match, contributions spilling over toward the catch-up limit will qualify for the match2 on up to 5% of your salary.
- You may start, stop, or change your contributions at any time. If you choose not to contribute toward the catch-up limit, you should adjust your TSP contributions accordingly.