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Insurance FAQs

Health

  • 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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  • Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) is available to: (1) employees who lose their FEHB Program coverage because they leave their Federal jobs, (2) children who lose their FEHB Program family member status because they reach age 26, and (3) former spouses who lose their FEHB Program family member status because of divorce or annulment. TCC allows former employees to continue their FEHB Program coverage for up to 18 months, and former family members (children and former spouses) to continue FEHB Program coverage for up to 36 months. For more information about TCC, please review the TCC pamphlet at www.opm.gov/insure/health/eligibility/tcc/index.asp.
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  • Not all screens are accessible by all employees or available at all agencies. For example, if you participate in premium conversion, you may not change from Self and Family to Self Only or cancel your FEHB enrollment at any time. Therefore, this menu option will not appear. You may still be able to change your enrollment if you have experienced a qualifying life event, or QLE. If you don't find the change option on your menu, see your Human Resources Office.
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  • No. If you remarry, your new spouse and his/her children cannot receive health benefits coverage under your survivor annuitant enrollment. If, however, you are a widow(er) survivor annuitant who is also receiving an annuity based on your own Federal career or who is a current Federal employee, you may be eligible to transfer your enrollment to your retirement annuity or your employing agency in order to provide coverage for your new spouse and his or her children.
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  • No. An annuitant, survivor, or former spouse can change to Self Only coverage, but this cancels all family members' coverage and takes away their future enrollment eligibility.
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  • We suggest that you look at The Department of Health and Human Services website (specifically HHS's Office of Civil Rights), since they are tasked with writing and enforcing these regulations. Here are two links:
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  • The "Federal Employees Health Benefits Children's Equity Act of 2000" requires mandatory Self and Family enrollment coverage for FEHB-eligible employees who do not comply with a court or administrative order to provide health insurance coverage for their child(ren). You should send a copy of the court order to your ex-spouse's Human Resources Office. They will ensure that your ex-spouse has an FEHB Self and Family enrollment that provides coverage for the children. If your ex-spouse does not have a Self and Family enrollment, his Human Resources Office will enroll him in the Self and Family option of his current FEHB plan. If his current plan is an HMO and the child(ren) don't live within the service area of this plan, they will enroll him in the Basic Option of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan. Please be sure to include your home address in your notification so that the Human Resources Office can make this determination. The Human Resources Office will send you a copy of the SF 2809, Health Benefits Election Form. They will also send a copy to the FEHB plan so the plan can update their records and send ID cards to you. The Human Resources Office will flag your ex-spouse's health insurance records to prevent him from making a change to a Self Only enrollment for as long as the court order requires him to provide health insurance coverage to your child(ren) or until the youngest child reaches age 26, whichever occurs first.
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  • Annuitant Open Season changes are effective January 1.
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  • If you are a current Federal employee, you should contact your Human Resources Office and ask them to find out on what date and carrier report number your enrollment information was forwarded to your new health insurance carrier. With this information, your new carrier will be able to locate your enrollment data and forward ID cards to you. If you are an annuitant, call your plan. If they tell you they haven't gotten the paperwork yet from your retirement system, you may contact your retirement system. If you are a Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuitant or a Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) annuitant, contact OPM at retire@opm.gov. Before contacting your retirement system, have your annuity information ready, for instance, your name, civil service annuity number (beginning with CSA or CSF), phone number and address, and information about your plan, such as the carrier enrollment code.
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  • If you cancel your FEHB, you need to be aware of the following consequences that apply to all employees who cancel their FEHB, including:
    • You and your dependents are no longer covered under the FEHB Program.
    • You may not reenroll in FEHB until you lose your TAMP coverage or have another qualifying life event (QLE) that permits enrollment, or until the next FEHB Open Season. If you reenroll because you lose TAMP coverage, you must do so from 31 days before to 60 days after your TAMP ends, and use Code 1M on Health Benefits Election Form, SF 2809, at www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2809 [848 KB]. Additional QLEs that permit enrollment, for example, a change in family status, are listed on SF 2809. If you have one of these QLEs, you must enroll within the timeframes shown.
    • If you transfer to another Federal agency, your cancellation follows you and you may not reenroll until you lose your TAMP coverage or have another QLE that permits enrollment, or until the next FEHB Open Season. See above bullet for details.
    • If you separate from your employment, you will not be eligible for temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) because you will not have any FEHB enrollment to continue. Also, you will not have an FEHB enrollment to convert to an individual policy with your former insurance carrier.
    • If you retire, you will not have an FEHB enrollment to continue into retirement.
    • If you die, you will not have an FEHB family enrollment for your survivors to continue, even if they are eligible for a survivor annuity.
    Note: Your agency may ask you to sign a statement stating that you understand these consequences.
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  • The Privacy Rule permits OPM to impose reasonable, cost-based fees. The fee may include only the cost of copying (including supplies and labor) and postage, if you request that the copy be mailed. We expect to charge an amount similar to that used for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
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  • The premiums for the FEHB plan you are currently enrolled in are in the brochure you will receive from your plan during the annual Federal Benefits Open Season. The Guide to Federal Benefits is a comparison of the plans and their benefits and premiums. There are a variety of Guides targeted to specific groups of enrollees. The average premium is recalculated every year.  Per FEHB law, the government will pay the lesser of: 75% of the carrier’s total premium, or 72% of the average premium.  The enrollee is responsible for the difference between the government contribution and the total premium. If the average premium increases, the maximum government contribution also increases. The total premium is the same for all enrollees, but the Government contribution is based on your employment. Some agencies, such as the Postal Service, contribute additional money towards the total premium. As a result, the share you must pay will depend upon your employment status. All Guides are available on this website or through your Human Resources Office.
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  • Open Season changes for most Federal employees are effective the first day of the first full pay period that begins in January. Generally, mid-year changes are effective on the first day of the pay period which begins after your enrollment is received by your Human Resources Office.
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  • Examples Susan L. has $100 per pay period deducted from her salary for her contribution towards FEHB coverage. Ms. L's employing agency mistakenly deducts $150 during the last pay period prior to the effective date of her participation in premium conversion. To correct the error, the agency deducts $50 for FEHB from Ms. Lee's pay in the following pay period, during which she has begun participating in premium conversion. Except for agency error, $100 would have been deducted from her pay. However, only $50 is treated on a pre-tax basis. Ms. L's employing agency mistakenly makes no FEHB deduction during the last pay period prior to the effective date of her participation in premium conversion. To correct the error, the agency deducts $200 from Ms. L's pay in the following pay period, during which she has begun participating in premium conversion. Since the deduction for FEHB coverage is taken after she begins participation in premum conversion, $200 is afforded pre-tax treatment. Ms. L's employing agency mistakenly does not process her participation in premium conversion. As a consequence, Ms. L's $100 FEHB deduction is not afforded pre-tax treatment. To correct the error, the agency changes Ms. L's premium conversion status to "participant" in the following pay period. If not for the error, Ms. L. would have had $200 deducted from her pay on a pre-tax basis. However, only $100 is eligible for pre-tax treatment. As you can see, under these rules an error correction may result in a greater or lower tax benefit than would otherwise have occurred.
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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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  • Your former Human Resources Office should send the new agency your Waiver of Immediate Reinstatement of FEHB along with your FEHB records, so that your postponement may continue. Your new agency should reinstate your FEHB and transfer it in to their payroll office on the date you requested by using the Notice of Change in Health Benefits Enrollment (Standard Form 2810). It is important that you check your leave and earnings statement to be sure that your FEHB is reinstated on the date you requested.
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  • The time limit for notification is 60 days from your divorce or annulment. Either you or your former spouse must notify the employing office in writing that you want TCC. If your former spouse is retired, notify the retirement system.
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  • A brand name drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is supplied by one company (the pharmaceutical manufacturer). The drug is protected by a patent and is marketed under the manufacturer's brand name.
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  • You are correct. Problems arising from oral discussions are very difficult to settle later because they are impossible to prove or disprove. In contractual situations such as under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, oral statements can never be regarded as official and, so, the brochures state that oral statements made by any representative of a carrier cannot modify the benefits described in the brochure. If a serious decision -- such as whether to enroll or not enroll in a plan -- hinges on such a coverage issue, do not rely on a verbal response. This is particularly true if the response disagrees with the plan's brochure benefits description.
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  • If you were unable to choose another plan during military service, your Human Resources Office should reinstate your old enrollment code (for enrollment history purposes only), give you an opportunity to change to another plan, and immediately process your change. To avoid any break in coverage, they should make your new enrollment effective on the date they would have reinstated your old enrollment.
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Total Count: 499, Number of Pages: 25, Page: 5
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