Health fair offers choices, chance to change
Randy Ransom (right), Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BC/BS) representative, discusses the benefits offered by BC/BS during a federal employee health benefit fair held Tuesday at the Fort Gillem Getaway club. The fair allowed Civilian employees and Civilian retirees to talk with representatives about health care options. Federal employees have until Monday to change their health care plans.

With the federal employee health benefit (FEHB) open season set to end Monday, federal employees at Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem were given one last opportunity to mingle with health care providers Tuesday at the Fort Gillem Getaway club.

The fair, which followed a similar fair held Nov. 31 at The Commons at Fort McPherson, brought health care providers and other insurance agencies into one location for easy access.

Participants at the health fair included Blue Cross and Blue Shield, AAA, Aetna, Kaiser Permanente, Mail Handlers Benefit Plan (MHBP), Government Employees Health Association, and the American Postal Workers Union. Priscilla Bowens, human resource specialist, Civilian Personnel Advising Center, U.S. Army Garrison, said the fair was important for many reasons, most notably BRAC.

"Because of BRAC, a lot (of employees) will move, and some carriers don't transfer," she said. "This gives employees the opportunity to see if they will still be covered once they reach their destination."

It also let them decide if they want to change their current plan or add additional, supplemental coverage, such as vision and dental, Bowens said.

Federal employees can only change insurance plans once a year during the open season, except in situations where there is a major life change, such as divorce or death of an immediate Family member, Bowens added.

With the open season nearly up, representatives from each company were busy educating others on the benefits and reasons to invest in quality health care.

"The key is prevention. You need regular checkups," said Angela Hope, a representative for MHBP, a nationwide organization with a 47-year history of helping federal and postal employees and annuitants.

Hope, like the other representatives, said she was there to bring attention to the benefits of her company in the hope people would choose to enroll with them.

Although not a health agency, AAA was in attendance due to their partnership with DoD.

"We give very good, discounted rates to anyone associated with DoD," said Erin Digby, AAA insurance salesperson.

Such rates are offered due to AAA's belief in the importance of the military, said Patricia Boynton, AAA membership sales representative "The Army is a major employer in the country.

We consider your (military and DoD Civilian employees) work a valuable service to the country," said Boynton.

Overall, Digby said reception was very positive and attendance was good. Still, there may have been individuals who were not able to attend either of the fairs.

They, or anyone with more questions, can call 1-877-276-9287 or visit www.abc.army.mil, Bowens said.

Page last updated Mon December 13th, 2010 at 12:15