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Insurance FAQs Health

Ineligible for FEHB

  • You are eligible for Medicare if you are age 65 or over. Also, certain disabled persons and persons with permanent kidney failure (or End Stage Renal Disease) are eligible. You are entitled to Part A without having to pay premiums if you or your spouse worked for at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment. (You automatically qualify if you were a Federal employee on January 1, 1983.) If you donï't automatically qualify for Part A, and you are age 65 or older, you may be able to buy it; contact the Social Security Administration. You must pay premiums for Part B coverage, which are withheld from your monthly Social Security payment or your annuity. You must be enrolled in both Medicare Parts A and B before you can enroll in Part C. You must be enrolled in either Part A or Part B before you can enroll in Part D. The cost of any additional premium will vary depending on the Part C or Part D plan that you select.
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  • The formulary for your health plan provides a list of medications that a team of health care specialists have approved. Your doctor will write a prescription based on your medical needs, but the formulary provides him with recommendations from the pharmacist and physician team. An effective formulary system provides a medication safety feature. When drugs and administration methods are systematically included (or deleted) in a controlled drug formulary, there are a number of benefits. For instance, each new drug added undergoes a peer review process that uncovers any safety concerns with the drug. Also, when drugs are systematically added to the formulary, there is adequate time to educate the staff before the drug is used. An organized formulary also ensures that the number and variety of drugs is kept to an effective minimum. There are approximately 13,000 prescription drugs on the market today and several drugs can often be used to treat the same condition. A formulary, based on safety and cost considerations, helps to limit the drugs recommended by your plan's health care professionals.
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  • Each year OPM releases the new health insurance rates about a month prior to the FEHB Open Season. The FEHB Open Season runs from the second Monday in November through the Second Monday in December. The new rates are generally released by mid-October at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/rates/index.asp.
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  • Yes, if you experience one of the following Qualifying Life Events: You are enrolled in a FEHB Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and you (or a covered family member) move or become employed outside the geographic area from which your FEHB carrier accepts enrollments; (or, if already outside this area, you move further from this area); You lose coverage due to discontinuance in whole or part of your FEHB plan; You experience a change in your family status. (Family status changes include marriage, legal separation, divorce, death of spouse or dependent, loss of coverage by your last dependent child.)
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  • Pay-As-You-Go Under the Pay-As-You-Go option, you pay your share of the FEHB premium directly to your employing agency while on LWOP. These payments will generally be made with after-tax monies, since there is no pay from which to make deductions.   Catch-Up Most employees who have a period of LWOP choose to pay their FEHB premiums via the Catch-up option. Under this option, the agency remits your share of the FEHB premium to OPM while you are on LWOP. You incur an obligation to your employing agency and are required to repay it upon your return to pay status. The repayment of the amount owed will be treated on a pre-tax basis, if it's deducted from pay and you participate in premium conversion at the time the deduction is made. If you choose to repay the amount owed to your agency directly out-of-pocket your taxable income is not reduced. Prepay Your agency may (but is not required to) offer you the option to prepay your FEHB premium from salary before you go on a period of LWOP. The amount of FEHB premiums you prepay in advance may either be deducted from your pay or paid directly "out-of-pocket" to your agency. Payments made "out-of-pocket" do not reduce taxable income. The amount of FEHB premiums that you prepay will be treated on a pre-tax basis, if it is deducted from your pay and you participate in premium conversion. IRS rules limit the amount you may prepay on a pre-tax basis. If your period of LWOP will span two tax years, the amount that you may prepay on a pre-tax basis may not exceed the amount of FEHB premiums due for the remainder of the current tax year. If you wish to prepay the amounts due for the subsequent tax year as well, the deductions must be made after-tax. You may use the "Pay-As-You-Go" or Catch-up options for amounts due in the subsequent tax year. Example Sam A. participates in premium conversion and had $100 per month in FEHB premiums deducted from his pay. He will go on LWOP for three months beginning on October 31, 2002 and opts to continue his FEHB coverage. Mr. A. uses the pre-pay option to pay from his salary the $300 in FEHB premium payments that will be due while he is on LWOP. Mr. A. will receive pre-tax treatment for only $200 of his FEHB premium prepayment- the amount he will owe for the months of November and December 2002. The remaining $100 prepaid – the amount due for January 2003 – must be given after-tax treatment.
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  • Under CSRS offset, your Social Security benefits would be slightly reduced, but your CSRS Offset benefits would be increased by almost the same amount. Participating in premium conversion is most likely a benefit to you.
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  • No. The only way to continue coverage into retirement is to meet the five year/all opportunity rule. You cannot "buy" the years you are missing.
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  • 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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  • Yes.
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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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Total Count: 704, Number of Pages: 47, Page: 7
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