Smart picks

Employees can save money on future medical costs by making wise choices during open season.

Postal Service employees who want to save money for future medical expenses have several options during this year’s open season, which runs from Nov. 14-Dec. 12.

A flexible spending account (FSA) allows you to set aside money before taxes to cover eligible medical, pharmacy, dental and vision expenses offered by a health maintenance organization (HMO) or fee-for-service plan.

Once you’ve established an FSA, you can contribute as much as $2,600 annually.

If you’re enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you also may be eligible to contribute to a health savings account (HSA).

An HSA allows you to pay for current health expenses and save for future medical expenses on a tax deductible or pretax basis. An HSA is yours to keep — even when you change plans or retire.

Additionally, some plans offer health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), which are used to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

The Office of Personnel Management has more information about these options on its HSA FAQ site.

Open season is the annual period when employees can make changes to their health coverage.

The Open Season LiteBlue site has more information to help employees evaluate their options and choose the coverage that best fits their needs.