Insurance Programs

As a Federal employee, you may be able to enroll in health, life, dental, and vision insurance and apply for long term care insurance. Click on the tabs below to find out information about each program.

Insurance Changes

If currently enrolled and you experience a life event, you may be able to make a change within a specific timeframe. Common qualifying life events (QLE) include marriage, divorce, and birth of a child.  Otherwise you must wait until the annual open season to make changes, which runs from mid-November through mid-December. For questions, email AskBenefits@nih.gov.

Marriage – Impact on Benefits

Program You May Timeframe How Additional Info
Health Insurance Enroll, add family members, or change plans Within 60 days after QLE * Complete form SF-2809 and submit to Benefit Office. ** Provide copy of marriage certificate.
Dental and Vision Insurance Enroll, add family members, or change plans 31 days before to 60 days after QLE BENEFEDS Portal
Life Insurance Elect or increase coverage Within 60 days after QLE Complete form SF-2817 and submit to Benefit Office. Provide copy of marriage certificate.
Flexible Spending Accounts Enroll and/or change current election(s) 31 days before to 60 days after QLE FSAFEDS website You cannot enroll or make changes after October 1. You must wait until Open Season.
Long Term Care Spouse can apply for coverage Within 60 days after QLE LTC website After 60 days, spouse can still apply but must use the full application.
Beneficiary Forms Complete/update Anytime Beneficiary forms A designation will still be valid even if your relationship or family situation has changed.

*Already have a Self and Family enrollment: you do not have to complete a new election form. Instead, contact your health plan to inform them of the new family member(s).

**Effective date will be the first day of the following pay period after you submit the SF-2809. NOTE: If you submit the SF-2809 prior to your wedding date, coverage will be effective the beginning of the following pay period, however your spouse and/or children of your spouse will not be covered until the actual day of the wedding.

Divorce – Impact on Benefits

NOTE: Legal separations are not considered a QLE. The divorce must be official and final.
Program You May Timeframe How Additional Info
Health Insurance Decrease enrollment or change plans Within 60 days after QLE * Complete form SF-2809 and submit to Benefit Office. ** Provide copy of divorce decree.
Dental and Vision Insurance Decrease enrollment 31 days before QLE - to anytime after BENEFEDS Portal
Life Insurance Elect, increase or decrease coverage Within 60 days after QLE Complete form SF-2817 and submit to Benefit Office. If you have Family coverage (Option C) and no other eligible family members, be sure to cancel it.
Flexible Spending Accounts Enroll and/or change current election(s) 31 days before to 60 days after QLE FSAFEDS website You cannot enroll or make changes after October 1. You must wait until Open Season.
Long Term Care Update billing arrangements Anytime LTC website You can stop paying premiums for an ex-spouse.
Beneficiary Forms Complete/update Anytime Beneficiary forms A designation will still be valid even if your relationship or family situation has changed.

** If you have self and family enrollment and still have more than 1 eligible family member, you must contact your plan to let them know the date of the divorce or annulment and have them remove your ex-spouse.

*Coverage for your spouse: Once the divorce or annulment is final, your ex-spouse loses coverage at midnight of the day the divorce or annulment is final, subject to a 31-day extension of coverage.

Your ex-spouse may be eligible to enroll under Spouse Equity, or Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC), or convert to an individual policy with your carrier.

Birth of Child – Impact on Benefits 

Program You May Timeframe How Additional Info
Health Insurance Enroll, add family members, or change plans 31 days before to 60 days after QLE * Complete form SF-2809 and submit to Benefit Office. Must provide documentation of the birth. Effective date will be the beginning of the pay period in which the child was born.
Dental and Vision Insurance Enroll, add family members, or change plans 31 days before to 60 days after QLE BENEFEDS Portal
Life Insurance Elect or increase coverage Within 60 days after QLE Complete form SF-2817 and submit to Benefit Office. Must provide documentation of the birth. You can decrease coverage at any time.
Flexible Spending Accounts Enroll and/or change current election(s) 31 days before to 60 days after QLE FSAFEDS website You cannot enroll or make changes after October 1. You must wait until Open Season.
Beneficiary Forms Complete/update Anytime Beneficiary forms A designation will still be valid even if your relationship or family situation has changed.

*Already have a Self and Family enrollment: you do not have to complete a new election form. Instead, contact your health plan to inform them of the new family member(s).

Benefits Office Locations

If currently enrolled and you experience a life event, you may be able to make a change within a specific timeframe. Common qualifying life events (QLE) include marriage, divorce, and birth of a child. Otherwise you must wait until the annual open season to make changes, which runs from mid-November through mid-December. For questions, email AskBenefits@nih.gov.

Bethesda Office
Benefits Office
31 Center Drive MSC 2215
Bldg 31, Room B3C23
Bethesda MD 20892-2215
  • Telephone: 301-496-2404
  • Fax: 301-402-5506
North Carolina Office
Benefits Office
PO Box 12233 (K1-01)
Keystone/Rm 1105
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
  • Telephone: 984-287-3044 or 240-421-9464
  • Fax: 919-541-3659