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Insurance FAQs

Coverage for Family Members

  • Family members eligible for coverage under your Self and Family enrollment are your spouse (including a valid common law marriage) and children under age 26, including legally adopted children, stepchildren, and recognized natural (born out of wedlock) children.  Foster children are included if they live with you in a regular parent-child relationship. A child age 26 or over who is incapable of self support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 26 is also an eligible family member. Your employing office will look at the child’s relationship to you as the enrollee to determine whether the child is a covered family member. You cannot cover other relatives, such as your mother, even if they are otherwise considered your dependents. An employee’s agency makes enrollment eligibility decisions in accordance with the law and regulations.  Ask your Human Resources Office for help in deciding whether your circumstances meet the requirements.
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  • As a result of health care reform, beginning January 1, 2011, children of Federal enrollees will be covered by their parent’s FEHB Self and Family enrollment until their 26th birthday (plus a 31-day temporary extension of coverage), even if the child previously lost coverage because he/she turned 22.
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  • If the State in which you reside recognizes common-law marriages, yes.
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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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  • Yes. You should still send a copy of the court order to your Human Resources Office to review and make a determination if any action is required. They will file the copy in your OPF and flag it so that they know a court order relating to health benefits has been filed. If your children aren't listed as family members on the SF 2809, they will send a copy of the court order to your FEHB plan.
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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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  • Only you and the children born to or adopted by you and your former spouse (the Federal employee or annuitant) are covered under a Self and Family enrollment. Your child must be under age 26 or be incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 26. Your children cannot be covered under more than one FEHB enrollment. If the employee or annuitant covers the children under his/her FEHB enrollment, your Spouse Equity enrollment should be for Self Only coverage.
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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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  • If you are a surviving child of the enrollee and the enrollee also has a surviving spouse or child eligible to receive a CSRS or FERS survivor annuity benefit, you can be covered under the survivor annuitant’s  Self and Family enrollment until age 26. You can continue coverage beyond age 26 if you are incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 26.  If you are a surviving child of the enrollee who is eligible for a CSRS or FERS survivor annuity benefit and the enrollee has no other survivors, the enrollment will be changed to a self only enrollment in your name. You will be responsible for paying the premiums either by having them withheld from your survivor annuity or through direct billing.  You can continue this FEHB coverage until your survivor annuity ends at age 18, or age 22 if you are a full-time student.  You can continue coverage beyond age 18 if you are incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 18. Your coverage will continue for 31 days after eligibility ends, unless the enrollment is cancelled. During that time, you may enroll in Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) or convert to an individual policy offered by your FEHB plan.
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  • No, the children are entitled to receive benefits under only one enrollment.  Generally, when divorce occurs, one parent will enroll in Self Only coverage and the other parent will enroll in Self and Family coverage to provide benefits for the children.  If there is a reason for both parents to enroll in Self and Family coverage (i.e., both parents have remarried and need Self and Family enrollments to cover their new spouses and stepchildren), each enrollee must notify his or her insurance carrier of the name(s) of the child(ren) to be covered under his/her enrollment to prevent ant child from receiving dual coverage under FEHB (which is prohibited by Federal law).
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  • Only you and the children born to or adopted by you and your former spouse (the Federal employee or annuitant) are covered.
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  • As long as you have a Self and Family enrollment and one of the family members is entitled to a survivor annuity, the children are eligible for FEHB coverage until they reach age 26 or until no survivor is eligible for a survivor annuity. Children age 26 or over are eligible to continue FEHB coverage if they are incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 26. 
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  • No, premiums that are paid under TCC are not eligible for premium conversion. Although we realize that you may make the premium payments on behalf of your child, the TCC policyholder is the child. 
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  • The TCC provisions allow children who no longer qualify as an eligible child (e.g., child reaches age 26, foster child no longer lives with the employee, foster child is no longer financially dependent on the employee) to continue their FEHB coverage for up to 36 months. The child is enrolled in his/her own right and pays both the employee’s and the Government's share of the premium, plus an additional 2% administrative cost. You should notify your employing office within 60 days after the child no longer qualifies for coverage as a family member. A child who loses FEHB coverage for any reason other than by cancellation has a 31-day temporary extension of coverage, at no cost, for the purpose of converting to a non-group contract with his/her current health benefits plan. To convert the child's coverage to a non-group plan, you or your child must apply directly to the health benefits plan within 31 days after the child's eligibility ends. For further information on health benefits, contact your personnel office.
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  • If you are an annuitant or an employee who waived premium conversion, you can change from a Self and Family enrollment to a Self Only enrollment at any time. If you are an employee, your youngest child turning age 26 is a qualifying life event (QLE) permitting you to change your FEHB enrollment outside of Open Season.  With this QLE, you can change from Self and Family to Self Only coverage.  You do not need to wait until the next Open Season to make this change; however, you need to request the change to Self Only coverage within 60 days of your child turning 26.
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  • Your grandchild may be eligible for FEHB coverage if he/she meets the eligibility requirements for foster children. These requirements are:
    • the child must be under age 26 (if the child is over age 26, he/she must be incapable of self support due to a disability that existed before age 26);
    • the child must currently live with you;
    • the parent-child relationship must be with you, not the child's biological parent;
    • you must currently be the primary source of financial support for the child; and
    • you must expect to raise the child to adulthood.
    For your grandchild to be covered under your FEHB enrollment, you must sign a certification stating that your grandchild meets all the requirements and that you will notify your employing office if the child moves out of the home or stops being financially dependent on you. You submit this certification to your employing office for their determination that your grandchild meets these requirements. Your employing office will then notify your FEHB plan that your grandchild should be added to your enrollment.
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  • Your child age 26 or over who is incapable of self-support because of a disability that existed before age 26 may be eligible for coverage under your FEHB enrollment. For more information, please see the FEHB Handbook for Enrollees and Employing Offices.
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  • Your plan's premiums will not decrease due to your family getting smaller, just as the premiums did not increase because you added children and your family grew. Federal law permits you to choose between two options: a Self Only enrollment or a Self and Family enrollment. Other coverage types such as Self and Spouse, Self and One Child (or two children, three children, etc.), and Self Plus One are not permitted under Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) law.
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  • Your child is covered under your Self and Family enrollment until age 26. There is no ‘live with’ requirement other than for foster children.  If you are enrolled in an HMO, your child will only be covered for emergency care while outside the HMO’s service area.  If your child is living outside your HMO’s service area, you may want to change to an FEHB plan that provides coverage both where your child is living and where the rest of your family is living.  Your plan brochure describes your HMO’s service area.  You can download your plan brochure by clicking on your state. Foster children must live with you and meet all of the requirements below:
    • the child must be under age 26;
    • the employee must be the primary source of financial support for the child;
    • the parent-child relationship must be with the enrollee, not the child's biological parent; and
    • the employee must expect to raise the child into adulthood.
    You must sign a certification stating that your foster child meets all the requirements. Contact your agency or Retirement System for more information.
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  • For an adopted child, FEHB coverage ends when the child reaches age 26.  Health benefits can continue after age 26 if the child is incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 26. Contact your employing office for information on how to continue coverage in such cases. For a foster child, health benefits stop when any one of the following requirements is no longer met:
    • the child must be under age 26 (if the child is over age 26, he/she must be incapable of self support due to a disability that existed before age 26);
    • the child must currently live with you;
    • the parent-child relationship must be with you, not the child's biological parent;
    • you must currently be the primary source of financial support for the child; and
    • you must expect to raise the child to adulthood.
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Total Count: 26, Number of Pages: 2, Page: 1
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