Federal Health Benefits Program

Open Season Processing Timeliness Gao ID: GGD-92-122BR July 8, 1992

GAO reviewed the timeliness of changes to health insurance that had been requested by federal workers or retirees during "open season." Overall, GAO discovered that more than half of the 104,000 changes it reviewed were unrecorded on insurance carriers' records by the effective date of the change. Almost all changes were recorded, however, within 60 days of the effective date. Wide variation in recording changes suggests that some agencies and carriers may have better ways of processing changes than others. GAO has told the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that recording times could be improved by using a comparison or "benchmarking" effort in which the processes used by the most timely agencies and carriers are examined. OPM agrees with GAO's suggestion and has laid out a three-part plan to improve the timeliness of processing changes.

GAO found that: (1) insurance carriers did not timely record 56 percent of coverage changes; (2) delays in the recording of changes vary between agencies; and (3) the office of Personnel Management is planning steps to improve processing of coverage changes.

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