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Insurance FAQs Health

    • Self Only                                                                                                                                                      
    • Self and Family
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  • You can change plans during the annual FEHB Open Season and whenever you have a qualifying life events (QLE) -- such as marriage. Becoming aware of another plan that has better benefits, even if you didn't expect to want the extra benefits when you had a chance to change plans before, does not qualify as a "QLE" that allows you to change plans.
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  • By regulation, an employee who does not change the enrollment during the Open Season is considered to have canceled the plan in which enrolled. The cancellation is effective the day before the first day of the first full pay period in January. The plan is responsible for providing coverage only through midnight of that date. If you're not sure of the date, you should contact your Human Resources Office and not the plan for the effective date. You should be aware that you are not entitled to a 31-day extension of coverage because the action is considered a cancellation and not a termination. You cannot reenroll in the FEHB Program until the next open season. Also, this is considered a break in coverage. The 5-year requirement to continue your enrollment into retirement will begin when you reenroll in the FEHB Program. If you are within five years of retirement, you will have to work additional time to be eligible to continue your enrollment into retirement. If you are an annuitant, you are deemed to have enrolled in the standard option of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) Service Benefit Plan. OPM deems annuitants into the standard option of BCBS by default (and by law) if they do not make a plan selection. If annuitants cancel their FEHB enrollment, they can never reenroll.
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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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  • No. There is no provision of law that allows for coverage to continue beyond 24 months during your military duty. However, at the end of the 24 months, you have a 31-day extension of coverage and the right to convert to an individual policy offered by the carrier of your plan. You are not required to provide evidence of insurability for this private coverage. There is no provision in FEHB law that allows for Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) after the 24 months of coverage.
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  • First, 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 1-888-767-6738. Before contacting your retirement system, have your annuity information ready: 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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  • 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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  • The former spouses that the regulation applies to are those of civilian Federal employees and annuitants as defined under the Civil Service Retirement Spouse Equity Act of 1984 (Public Law 98-615). The regulation does not apply to "unremarried former spouses" under TRICARE law (title 10 USC). See also the chapter on former spouses in the FEHB Handbook.
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  • Spouse Equity:
    1. If you qualify for Spouse Equity, you can elect FEHB coverage in your own right.
    2. Your coverage continues indefinitely, as long as you continue to meet the requirements (see next section) and pay your premiums.
    3. You must pay both the employee and government shares of your plans FEHB premium.
    4. You do not have to pay the extra 2% administrative charge.
    TCC:
    1. Your coverage is limited. It will end 36 months after your divorce or annulment, or earlier if you do not pay your premiums.
    2. You must pay both the employee and government shares of your plans FEHB premium, plus an administrative charge equal to 2% of total plan premiums.
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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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  • The small reduction in Social Security benefits is greatly outweighed by the much larger tax savings. In each case we tested, the increase in take-home pay far exceeded the minor loss in monthly Social Security benefits. Here is a simple formula you can use to estimate the difference in your Social Security benefit:
    1. Take the number of years you will participate in premium conversion (from now until your estimated retirement) and divide by 35.
    2. Multiply this by your current annual FEHB premium
    3. Multiply the result of Step 2 by the marginal SSA rate (15% for most Federal employees)
    The result is the annual loss of Social Security benefits. (# of Years of Premium Conversion /35) X Annual FEHB Premium X marginal SSA rate = Annual Loss Example You participate in FERS. We assume that you've had a full career of FICA contributions, with an ending salary (today) of $50,000 and projected retirement at age 66 in January 2016. Your estimated Social Security benefit equals $1,414 per month. You begin participating in premium conversion and reduce your taxable income by $2,000, the amount of your FEHB premium. By changing your salary to $48,000, your monthly Social Security benefit is now $1,403, an $11.00 per month difference in today's dollars. 15/35= .4286 X 2000 = 857 X .15 = 128/12 = 10.71 or 11 Compare that to the estimated $67 increase in take home pay per month. For more specific information on how the Social Security benefit is calculated, refer to www.ssa.gov.
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  • You can find the Guide to Federal Benefits (RI 70-5) that lists the premiums for TCC at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/planinfo/guides/index.asp.
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  • The Open Season dates are set by Federal regulation 5 C.F.R. § 890.301(f), available at http://law.justia.com/us/cfr/title05/5-2.0.1.1.32.3.143.1.html. Each year OPM provides an Open Season from the Monday of the second full workweek in November through the Monday of the second full workweek in December.
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  • No. According to the FEHB law, if you or your former spouse didnt notify the employing office within the 60-day limit, your opportunity to elect TCC ends 60 days after your divorce or annulment.
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  • Because the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program, the largest employer-sponsored health insurance program in the world, we believe we have a commitment to you. Following are the standards we follow:
    • Your choice of health benefits plans will compare favorably for value and selection with the private sector.  
    • When you use the Guide to Federal Benefits and plan benefit brochures, you will find they are clear, factual and give you the information you need.  
    • When you change plans or options, your new plan will issue your identification card within 15 calendar days after it gets your enrollment form from your agency or retirement system.  
    • Your fee-for-service plan should pay your claims within 20 work days; if more information is needed, it should pay within 60 calendar days.  
    • If you ask us to review a claim dispute with your plan, our decision will be fair and easy to understand, and we'll send it to you within 60 calendar days. If you need to do more before we can review a claim dispute, we will tell you within 14 work days what you still need to do.  
    • When you write to us about other matters, we will respond within 30 calendar days after we get your letter. If we need time to give you a complete response, we will let you know.
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Total Count: 498, Number of Pages: 34, Page: 10
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