Some employees can save on medical expenses by choosing HDHPs during open season.

Employees have the option to pay medical expenses on a pretax or tax deductible basis if they opt for high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) during this year’s open season.

HDHPs offer lower premiums and greater flexibility and discretion on how to use health care dollars.

HDHPs combine a health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) with traditional coverage, such as a health maintenance organization (HMO) or fee-for-service plan.

Retirees and those enrolled in Medicare are only eligible for an HRA.

HDHPs also have higher annual deductibles and annual out-of-pocket limits than other Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) plans.

An HDHP automatically deposits a portion of your premium or a credit into your HSA or HRA. This is money for you to use for out-of-pocket costs or to save for future medical expenses.

With the exception of preventive care, participants must meet the annual deductible before the plan pays benefits.

Open season, the annual period when employees can make changes to their health coverage, runs from Nov. 14-Dec. 12.

The Open Season LiteBlue site has more information about HDHPs, including an informational video.