FORT KNOX, Ky. — As U.S. Army civilian employees prepare to make changes to their health insurance policies during the upcoming 2020 Federal Benefits Open Season, an official at Fort Knox is urging them to pay close attention to policy changes.Erika Jaskolski, director of the Civilian Personnel Actions Center, said some premium costs are expected to rise, even if just a little, depending on what policies civilian employees have chosen.“The new rates for 2021 aren’t going to be available until late October,” said Jaskolski. “Even then, they won’t be posted until early November.”The open season, which runs from Nov. 9 to Dec. 14, allows employees to make decisions about their health, flexible spending account, vision and dental benefits. Information for each can be found on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website at HERE.Those who visit the premiums website HERE will discover that it has not yet been updated to reflect this year’s changes. Jaskolski said that is because OPM officials are not expected release them until the first week of November, shortly before open season starts.“It’s still the standard open season, still the standard requirements when it comes to if you have a current carrier,” said Jaskolski. “As long as that particular package that you have with that carrier is still available, and you do nothing, you will continue with that package. If it goes away, you’ll have to select a new one.”Jaskolski said people should not worry if a package is being cancelled because they will get notified by the Army Benefits Center prior to open season.“I don’t know about this year yet, but it definitely has happened,” said Jaskolski. “Pretty frequently, almost every year, there’s some package that’s no longer offered.”Even if no changes occur to beneficiaries’ packages, Jaskolski encouraged beneficiaries to make necessary changes as needed, especially as catastrophes like the COVID-19 pandemic, influenza and hurricane seasons, and West Coast wildfires continue to affect lives.“The health insurance coverage you choose should be customized based on the needs of your family,” said Jaskolski. “For an individual like myself who doesn’t have any children in the home, I wouldn’t select a package that has a lot of emergency room visits because that’s not as common as it is for those who have small children.”Virtually all the companies listed on the website will provide health packages, and some will include dental and vision. Jaskolski said she is only aware of one that offers a package for long-term care but recommends visiting the OPM site to be sure.“The site has all the information on all the different packages; your deductibles, yearly costs — all of it is on the OPM website,” said Jaskolski. “You can look at each plan in full detail.”Jaskolski said the one question she frequently gets from beneficiaries is when the policies take effect.“It’s always the first pay period of the new year,” she said. “Even if you’ve made elections in November, they won’t be effective until the first pay period of the new year.”Another frequently asked question comes from well-meaning beneficiaries wanting to know who she recommends.“People ask me a lot who I have, but I can’t put a plug in for any particular company. I always recommend to look at the company, look at the deductibles, look at the yearly costs; look at whether they have extra coverages,” she said. “For instance, some have physical therapy; others don’t. Some have a higher ER rate, others don’t. Some only cover like $1,500 toward hospital stays, others allow a certain period of time and so much per day.“It’s all based on the individual coverage that their family needs, and what they think their family needs the most.”Jaskolski also urged employees not to wait until the last minute to decide, especially as the annual open season kickoff fair at U.S. Army Human Resources Command is expected to go virtual this year.“Look early,” she said. “Make some comparisons, and try to choose before the last day of open season on Dec. 14.”