Season of change

The Postal Service wants employees to know about important changes concerning the open season benefits enrollment period that began this week.

Here’s a rundown:

• Because insurance rates are increasing, USPS is encouraging employees to compare plans and avoid overspending on health care. Employees can use Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees, an online tool available on LiteBlue, to review rates for 2024.

• There are new pretax limits for flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

Employees can go to the FSAFEDS website to learn more about the FSA health care expense cap for 2024, and more about FSAs in general.

The IRS website has information about the new TSP contribution limits. USPS employees can use LiteBlue to make changes to their TSP contributions at any time during the year.

The Open Season LiteBlue page has an overview of open season, including FAQs, educational videos and a link to Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees.

Open season, the once-a-year opportunity for Postal Service employees to make changes to their health coverage or choose a new plan, began Nov. 13 and runs through Dec. 11.

What’s the alternative?

Postal Service employees may participate in an upcoming webinar that will show how substitutes in our diet can lead to positive results.

The session, “Healthy Alternatives for Simple Substitutes,” will be held Nov. 21 at noon Eastern.

Representatives from GEHA, a provider of health plans for federal employees, will discuss how alternatives to common foods can offer new perspectives on how we shop, cook and eat.

Participants must register before the event on the webinar website.

Participation is voluntary. Nonexempt employees may participate off the clock or on authorized breaks.

The USPS Wellness LiteBlue page has additional resources. Employees who have questions can email the Benefits and Wellness team.

Guidelines for giving

The Combined Federal Campaign is a highlight of the season of giving for many Postal Service employees — and as with other forms of workplace giving, ethics rules apply.

The campaign, also known as the CFC, allows federal employees and retirees to easily donate to the nearly 5,000 charitable organizations under its umbrella. It consolidates donations into a single, officially supported effort across the federal workforce.

General rules to keep in mind when it comes to campaign giving:

• All donations to the CFC must be truly voluntary. USPS employees may give or not give as they choose and are guaranteed confidentiality of their donation decisions.

• Contractors cannot be solicited but may give a one-time donation by check.

• All charities must be treated equally during CFC season. While it is permitted to promote a CFC cause of the week, postal employees may not endorse or give preferential treatment to any individual charities.

There are also rules specific to CFC events:

• Permission is required from the USPS Ethics Office for all CFC events; requests should be sent to at least two weeks in advance.

• Postal funds may be used to support CFC events if the funding is available and approved. Outside sources and businesses may not contribute and may not be solicited to do so.

• CFC events can only be used to raise awareness of the campaign — no fundraising or soliciting is permitted. Everyone must be welcome to attend, whether they make a charitable contribution or not.

• Gambling at CFC events is prohibited. Raffles are permitted but only if there is no cost to enter, all postal employees can participate, and the prizes are modest.

For more about CFC rules, email the Ethics team at