By Tim Hipps, Army Installation Command
The Army announced that Nov. 6 through Dec. 1 is the window for U.S. Army Nonappropriated Fund employees to visit their NAF Benefits Human Resources Office and exercise their open enrollment options.
“Let everybody know it’s time,” said Gloria Mick, manager of the Army NAF Benefits Medical Program at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command Headquarters on Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
“Once a year, we want you to physically visit your Human Resources Office, and if nothing else, have them check to make sure absolutely everything is correct — the way it should be.”
NAF employees’ most important benefit during open season could be a November visit to their NAF Benefits Human Resources Office to ensure all personal data is updated and all options are exercised, including contact information for family members and beneficiaries.
“Family dynamics and priorities changes, especially as times change,” Mick explained. “Paying attention to this responsibility during open season may greatly impact your family’s future.”
Before taking advantage of this once-a-year opportunity, the Army is making available to all members and family members a new NAF Open Enrollment Video at nafhealthplans.com.
“This is the first time that we’ve ever had a NAF Open Enrollment Video,” said Anne Bright, NAF Employee Benefits Operations manager of the Army NAF Employee Benefits Office at IMCOM Headquarters in San Antonio.
“I want to encourage all of the employees and their family members to view this video.”
Employees can review open enrollment information online at nafbenefits.com or on Aetna’s website at nafhealthplans.com, which includes an educational video library.
All employee open enrollment changes, however, must be made at the servicing NAF Human Resources Office.
If making an enrollment change, the employee must follow the NAF employer’s enrollment process and complete the change no later than Dec. 1.
“Don’t assume that your benefits are correct. Get in there and get them checked,” Mick said. “And watch the video. We would like every NAF employee in the benefits program to watch the video.”
Open enrollment health plan changes and elections will be effective Jan. 1, 2018.
“The biggest mistake people make during open enrollment is they assume that their personal data is correct in the benefit system,” Mick said. “To do that, they have to physically go into their servicing Human Resources Office.
“Current addresses — absolutely imperative. Family information —make sure that you have the right people as your designated beneficiary and designated dependents, otherwise, we can’t help you out,” Mick said.
“This is the time of year that we want to do the very, very best we can as administrators.”
For the first time in 17 years, premiums for the DoD NAF Health Benefit Plan (Aetna) will not increase unless an enrollment/rate tier change is made.
Also, employees in the plan will continue to contribute only 30 percent of the cost of premiums while the NAF employer picks up the remaining 70 percent.
The Stand Alone Dental Plan has a slight increase in premiums of 2.7 percent.
In addition, now is the time to enroll or increase your benefit in basic life insurance as we are currently in a premium holiday until further notice — saving the employee money.
You can save more money with Flexible Spending Accounts, or FSAs, which let you set aside money from your paycheck — on a pretax basis — to use for eligible out-of-pocket expenses.
A Health Care Flexible Spending Account is used to reimburse yourself for medical, dental and vision expenses not covered by your health plan. The annual health care FSA pretax contribution limit for 2018 is $2,650. If you and your spouse each have a health care FSA, you can each contribute $2,650.
A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account is used to reimburse yourself for child or adult day care services needed because you work. The dependent care FSA limit is $5,000 per household/family.
You do not have to be enrolled in an employer-sponsored health plan to enroll in an FSA and you may enroll in one or both. You must, however, enroll every year, meaning your current election does not carry forward from year to year.
FSAs are not available to retirees.