Two types of enrollment are available:
A self only enrollment provides benefits only for you as the enrollee. You may enroll for self only even though you have a family, but they will not be eligible for FEHB coverage (even upon your death or disability).
A self and family enrollment provides benefits for you and your eligible family members. All of your eligible family members are automatically covered, even if you didn't list them on your Health Benefits Election Form (SF 2809) or other appropriate request. You cannot exclude any eligible family member and you cannot provide coverage for anyone who is not an eligible family member.
You may enroll for self and family coverage before you have any eligible family members. Then, a new eligible family member (such as a newborn child or a new spouse) will be automatically covered by your family enrollment from the date he/she becomes a family member. When a new family member is added to your existing self and family enrollment, you do not have to complete a new SF 2809 or other appropriate request, but your carrier may ask you for information about your new family member. You will send the requested information directly to the carrier. Exception: if you want to add a foster child to your coverage, you must provide eligibility information to your employing office.
If both you and your spouse are eligible to enroll, one of you may enroll for self and family to cover your entire family. If you have no eligible children to cover, each of you may enroll for self only in the same or different plans. Generally, you will pay lower premiums for two self only enrollments.
An enrollment code identifies the plan, the option (high or standard), and the type of enrollment (self only or self and family) you have chosen. The first two places in the three-digit code identify the plan, and the third place identifies the option and type of enrollment. Enrollment codes are found on the front cover of each plan's brochure and in the FEHB Guide.
Unless otherwise specified, enrollments or changes in enrollment become effective on the first day of the first pay period that begins after your employing office receives your enrollment request and that follows a pay period during any part of which you were in pay status.
If I Participate in Premium Conversion, Can I Still Change My Enrollment?
Yes, you can still make changes to your enrollment as detailed in this section with two exceptions. You must have a qualifying life event to change from self and family to self only or to cancel your FEHB coverage outside of Open Season.
If you are a new employee, you may enroll in any available plan, option, and type of enrollment within 60 days after your date of appointment, unless your position is excluded from coverage. If you were employed in a position that was excluded from coverage and then appointed to a position that conveys coverage, you may enroll within 60 days after the change.
If you are a Nonappropriated Fund (NAF) employee who moves to Federal employment, you are eligible for coverage just as any other new employee, even if you have continued coverage under the NAF retirement system.
If you participate in premium conversion, you may change your enrollment from self and family to self only:
Joel gets divorced, and since he doesn't have any children, he wants to change to a self only enrollment. He can make this enrollment change outside of Open Season since it is consistent with and corresponds to his qualifying life event (divorce).
If you do not participate in premium conversion, you may change your enrollment from self and family to self only at any time.
Note: Different rules apply for some U.S. Postal Service employees. Check with your employing office if you want to change to a self only enrollment.
A change from self and family to self only becomes effective on the first day of the first pay period that begins after the employing office receives your enrollment request.
Your spouse's death, your divorce, a child's marriage or a child's reaching age 22, may leave you as the only person covered by a self and family enrollment. If you are the only person left in a self and family enrollment, you should change to a self only enrollment promptly so that you are not unnecessarily paying premiums for a family enrollment.
Your employing office can make a change to self only retroactive to the first day of the pay period after the pay period in which you have no remaining eligible family members. Your employing office will make a retroactive change only upon your written request stating the event and date when you became the only person covered by the family enrollment. There will be an adjustment in your health benefits withholdings and contributions.
What is a Qualifying Life Event?
A qualifying life event (QLE) is a term defined by OPM to describe events deemed acceptable by the IRS that may allow premium conversion participants to change their participation election for premium conversion outside of an open season.
The qualifying life events that may allow you to change your premium conversion election are:
Changes in entitlement to Medicare or Medicaid for you, your spouse or dependent
You may enroll during the open season if you are an eligible employee. If you are enrolled, you may change plans, options, type of enrollment, or premium conversion status.
If you are a non-enrolled annuitant, you are not permitted to enroll during an open season unless you had suspended your FEHB enrollment to join an Medicare managed care plan or because of your eligibility under Medicaid or a similar State-sponsored program of medical assistance for the needy.
The effective dates of the annual Open Season enrollments and changes in enrollment are as follows:
You may enroll or change enrollment from self only to self and family, from one plan or option to another, or make any combination of these changes during the period beginning 31 days before and ending 60 days after a change in your family status. You can change your enrollment only once during this time period (unless there is another event during this time that would permit an enrollment change). You can also change your premium conversion status as long as the change in enrollment is on account of and consistent with a qualifying life event.
If you change from self only to self and family because of the birth or addition of a child, the effective date of your enrollment change is the first day of the pay period in which the child becomes a family member.
If you and your spouse each are enrolled for self only and you want a self and family enrollment because of a change in family status, one of you may change to a self and family enrollment if the other cancels the self only enrollment.
If you want to provide immediate coverage for your new spouse, you may submit an enrollment request during the pay period before the anticipated date of your marriage. If the effective date of the change is before your marriage, your new spouse does not become eligible for coverage until the actual day of your marriage.
If you enroll or change your enrollment before the date of your marriage and intend to change your name, you must note on your request: "Now: [Current Name] will be: [Married Name]." The reason for the change and the date of the marriage must be given in your request.
If you enrolled or changed your enrollment before your anticipated marriage date and you do not get married, your employing office must void the request. If you changed plans, your employing office must be sure to notify both the old and the new carrier that your change was voided.
Even if you are legally separated, your spouse is still considered a family member and eligible for coverage under your self and family enrollment. To continue to provide health benefits coverage for your children, you must continue your self and family enrollment. Upon a final divorce decree, your spouse is no longer an eligible family member and is not covered under your enrollment.
When two Federal employees divorce, one person usually continues a self and family enrollment to provide coverage for the children, while the other enrolls for self only. When the enrollment covering the children is canceled or changed to self only, you may change to a self and family enrollment to provide immediate coverage for your children.