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Frequently Asked Questions Insurance

FEHB for Federal Civilian Employees who Perform Active Military Duty

  • If you do not want to continue your FEHB enrollment, you must notify your employing office in writing that you wish to terminate your coverage. If you do not take action to terminate the coverage, your enrollment will continue for up to 24 months while you are on military duty.
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  • FEHB law does not permit the Program to offer a Self Plus One category.  Pursuant to section 8905 of title 5, United States Code, “An employee [or annuitant] may enroll in an approved health benefits plan under section 8903 or 8903(a) of this title either as an individual or for self and family.”  The law does not allow a Self Plus One option.  Congress would need to change the law to permit this type of enrollment plan. OPM’s Office of Actuaries has done cost and premium projections on the impact of changing from a two-tiered structure to a multi-tiered structure in the current FEHB Program.  While it might not be readily apparent, because a large number of older two-person families participate in the FEHB Program, the cost of providing health insurance for this older two person group is often nearly twice as high as it is to cover younger members with large families.  The self plus one premium would be based on the health cost of this group.  For this reason, it is not clear that adding additional enrollment options to the FEHB Program would result in any significant benefit to those who ask for the change.  In fact, they might be worse off. The objective of a group insurance policy like FEHB is to promote the beneficial aspects of risk-sharing.  The Program shares the risk among a large group of enrollees, from those who are sick and high-risk to those who are healthy and low-risk.  By spreading the risk, FEHB enrollees as a whole can get better coverage and lower premiums.  We believe that balancing charges across large demographic groups provides the best value, stability, and equity over the life of program enrollment opportunities.
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  • If your agency does not pay your premiums, you must pay the employee's share of the premium during the first 12 months of coverage (just as any other employee on leave without pay). You must pay both the employee and government shares, plus an administrative charge of 2 percent of the total premium, for up to 12 additional months that you continue your coverage while on military duty.
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  • The 24-month period begins the day you are separated, furloughed, or placed on leave of absence to serve on military duty. This applies even if part of your military service is covered by paid leave immediately followed by furlough or other leave without pay.
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  • You should contact your Human Resources Office for the appropriate information for employees covered under FEHB who are called to military duty.
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  • The authority for agencies to pay premiums applies to employees who were called to active duty on or after December 8, 1995, and who meet certain conditions. Agencies may make retroactive payments to qualified employees for premiums paid on or after that date. Ask your Human Resources Office about the policy for your agency.
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  • If you elect to terminate your enrollment before you go on active duty, the termination will be effective on the day you are separated, furloughed, or placed on leave of absence to enter military service. Your employing office must use SF 2810 to terminate your enrollment. This means that you are entitled to a 31-day extension of coverage and if needed, have the right to convert to an individual policy offered by the carrier of your plan.
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  • If you do not meet these requirements, the authority for you to continue your FEHB comes from the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) (38 U.S.C. 4317). Public Law 108-454 amended this Act to allow you to continue your FEHB for 24 months if you were called to military duty and elected to continue your health insurance coverage on or after December 10, 2004. If you made your election before December 10, 2004, you are eligible to continue your FEHB for 18 months. If your FEHB continues under this provision, your agency does not have authority to pay your premiums while you are on military duty. For additional information, see Benefits Administration Letter 06-401 at BAL 06-401 Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program: Extended Coverage for Employees Called to Active Military Duty. [54 KB]
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  • Your agency should contact you or your dependent and give you an opportunity to select another plan. If they were unable to reach you and you learned after the enrollment time frame that your plan discontinued, they must use SF 2810 to reinstate your old enrollment code. This is for enrollment history purposes only, and cannot be sent to your old carrier since the plan is discontinued. Your agency should give you an opportunity to select another plan, and process the change retroactive to the date after your enrollment under your former plan terminated. When selecting another plan, please remember you are responsible for determining if any providers used participate in your new plan's network.
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  • Your employing office will notify you of the choices available to you and provide you with a method to make direct premium payments.
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