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Insurance FAQs

Health

  • Most health maintenance organizations (HMO) restrict enrollment to an area where its doctors and hospitals are accessible. Although some HMOs do not have restrictions on where you live or work, please recognize that if you later find it is inconvenient to get to a plan provider, you may have to wait until the next Open Season to change plans.
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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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  • To qualify for Spouse Equity coverage, submit an application to your former spouse's Human Resources Office (or, if applicable, the former spouse's retirement system) within 60 days after your divorce. To be eligible, you must have been covered as a family member under your spouse's FEHB Program enrollment at least one day during the 18 months prior to divorce and you must have future entitlement to receive a portion of your spouse's retirement annuity or a survivor annuity. Also, if you remarry prior to age 55 you will lose this coverage. If you do not qualify under the Spouse Equity provisions, you may be eligible for coverage under the Temporary Continuation of Coverage provisions. You may also convert to a private policy.
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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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  • You will be covered only for emergency care. Unless your HMO has a "reciprocity" agreement with a plan in your new area that allows you to get routine care, you must travel back to your HMO for care, or change plans. You can change plans anytime after moving; contact your retirement system.
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  • We have published a final regulation that allows current FEHB annuitants and former spouses who are eligible for these programs to suspend their FEHB coverage and premium payments. The regulation allows these individuals to reenroll in the FEHB Program during the Open Season, or immediately if they are involuntarily disenrolled from the non-FEHB coverage.
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  • You can reenroll in the FEHB Program for any reason during a future Open Season. If you are involuntarily disenrolled from TRICARE or CHAMPVA, you are eligible to immediately reenroll in the FEHB Program. Your request to reenroll must be received within the period beginning 31 days before and ending 60 days after your TRICARE or CHAMPVA coverage ends. Otherwise, you must wait until Open Season.
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  • Call the OPM-Macon Help Desk at 478-757-3030, choose the PIN option, and request a new PIN. The Help Desk will mail your new PIN the next day. Since the Help Desk will mail your new PIN to the address your agency has on file, make sure that your Human Resources Office has your current address. We suggest you change your PIN to something easy to remember and be sure to keep your PIN in a safe place. You won't be able to use Employee Express until you get your new PIN.
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  • When a drug patent expires other companies may produce a generic version of the brand name drug. A generic medication, also approved by the FDA, is basically a copy of the brand name drug and is marketed under its chemical name. A generic drug may have a different color or shape than its brand name counterpart, but it must have the same active ingredients, strength, and dosage form (i.e., pill, liquid, or injection), and provide the same effectiveness and safety as its brand name counterpart.
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  • You are no longer an eligible family member when your divorce or annulment becomes final. You get a 31-day extension of your health benefits plans coverage after that date. You may convert to an individual contract offered by your health benefits plan, if you don't qualify for or don't want FEHB coverage through Spouse Equity or TCC.
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  • You must inform your Human Resources Office that you want to revoke your waiver during your final pay period. Your Human Resources Office will then reinstate your FEHB so that you will have an enrollment to continue under TCC or convert. If your leave and earnings statement for your final pay period does not show a withholding for an FEHB premium, contact your Human Resources Office immediately.
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  • If the State in which you reside recognizes common-law marriages, yes.
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  • If you remarry before age 55, your health benefits enrollment will end on the last day of the month preceding the month in which you remarry. However, if you were married for 30 years or more to the deceased employee or annuitant, your health benefits enrollment will continue. If you are enrolled in Self and Family coverage when your annuity ends, the enrollment will continue for any eligible children as long as one of them is entitled to receive a survivor annuity (but you will not be covered).
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  • If you die, the Waiver of Immediate Reinstatement of FEHB automatically terminates. If you postponed reinstatement of a Self and Family enrollment, and your survivors are eligible for a survivor annuity, their FEHB coverage will begin the day after your death.
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  • A. Yes, you will be able to reenroll in the future because you are canceling your enrollment to be covered by another FEHB enrollment.
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  • When children reach age 26, they are eligible to enroll in Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) or convert to an individual policy.  It is the responsibility of you or your child to know when he/she is no longer eligible for coverage and to apply for TCC or a conversion policy in a timely manner. Your employing office is not obligated to inform you of your child’s eligibility for TCC and conversion rights when he/she is no longer eligible for coverage. TCC: If a child loses coverage under your enrollment because he/she reaches age 26, he/she is eligible for TCC. You must contact your Human Resources Office within 60 days of your child’s 26th birthday to inform them that your child is turning age 26.  Your Human Resources Office will give you information about enrolling your child in TCC or converting your child to an individual policy.  Your child has 60 days to request enrollment for TCC from the later of (1) his/her 26th birthday or (2) the date of the TCC notice from the Human Resources Office. For more information about TCC, please review the TCC coverage pamphlet at www.opm.gov/insure/health/eligibility/tcc. Conversion: If a child loses coverage under your enrollment because he/she reaches age 26, he/she is entitled to convert to an individual policy offered by the carrier of your plan. Your child is not required to provide evidence of insurability.  To apply for conversion, you or your child must make a written request to the carrier of your plan.  You or your child must apply for conversion within 31 days after his/her 26th birthday.  For more information about conversion, please visit http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/reference/handbook/FEHB15.asp#31.
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  • Your Human Resources Office will compile your health benefits records and forward them to OPM along with your retirement application and other records. OPM will review your health benefits records to determine if you are eligible to continue your FEHB enrollment into retirement. If you are eligible, OPM will process a transfer-in action and forward you a copy of this action for your records.
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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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  • First, have your doctor contact the plan to discuss the situation. You and your doctor can provide your plan with information to support your contention that the surgery should be authorized, such as medical records that indicate the need for the surgery, and ask your plan to reconsider its decision. If the plan reconsiders its decision but continues to uphold its denial, and after considering the plan's rationale you still disagree, consult the disputed claims section of your plan's brochure for specific information on how to write to the Office of Personnel Management to ask us to review the claim.
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  • The National Defense Authorization Act for 2001 (Act) extended TRICARE pharmacy coverage to uniformed services Medicare eligible retirees, spouses, and survivors on April 1, 2001. Now uniformed services beneficiaries can get comprehensive prescription drug coverage through TRICARE's retail, mail order, or military treatment facility pharmacies. The Act also reinstated eligibility for TRICARE medical benefits for these beneficiaries on October 1, 2001. Beneficiaries with Medicare Parts A and B are now eligible to use TRICARE coverage for physician, hospital, surgical, and pharmaceutical services.
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Total Count: 482, Number of Pages: 25, Page: 4
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