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Frequently Asked Questions Insurance

Health

  • 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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  • Your premiums will not change. The enrollment will be changed to your name and changed to a self only enrollment if there are no other eligible family members.
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  • Information about the new TRICARE-For-Life program can be obtained by calling 1-888-DOD LIFE (1-888-363-5433) or by going to the TRICARE website at www.tricare.osd.mil.
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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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  • Each state has a law that allows pharmacists to substitute less expensive generic drugs for many brand names. However, if your doctor specifies that a brand name must be dispensed, then the pharmacist may not substitute the generic. Sometimes an acceptable generic is available that your doctor may not be aware of. In this case, your pharmacist may be able to consult with your doctor to suggest an effective medication that costs less.
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  • Yes, taxes in 49 states and most localities will be reduced; exceptions include the state of New Jersey and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. OPM monitors changes in state and local tax regulations, and provides guidance to your agency as needed. Regardless of where you live, FEHB premiums are not subject to Federal taxes.

    FICA Taxes

    If you are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and participate in premium conversion, FEHB premium deductions will also be excluded from gross pay before Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Medicare taxes are applied. Employer FICA contributions will also be reduced in concert with the decrease in employee withholdings.

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  • Your new plan is NOT responsible for providing coverage until the effective date of your enrollment change which for most employees is the first day of the first full pay period in January. If you need medical services before the effective date of your Open Season enrollment, you should contact your old plan. Please remember, while the new enrollments are not effective until the first full pay period in January, the new plan benefits are effective January 1. Your old plan, therefore will provide coverage according to the new contract. These expenses will count toward your prior year's deductible.

    If you are an annuitant, you should contact your new plan. Your Open Season enrollment is effective January 1.

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  • As long as your spouse has a Self and Family enrollment and you are still married to your spouse, you will be covered under the enrollment. Your eligibility for coverage under your spouse's Self and Family enrollment will cease after a divorce or annulment. You may, however, be eligible for FEHB coverage under either the Spouse Equity provisions or the Temporary Continuation of Coverage provisions of the law. You would be enrolled in your own right and would pay both the Government and employee shares of the premium yourself.
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  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or choose to get their benefits from an array of Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) plan options. Depending on where you live, Part C options may include Medicare Advantage Plans that are approved by Medicare but run by private companies. Medicare Advantage plans offer Medicare Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), private fee-for-service plans (PFFS), Medicare Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans.

    The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA) established a voluntary outpatient prescription drug benefit, Medicare Part D, effective January 1, 2006. Medicare enrollees are able to receive prescription drug coverage by enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan. Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C) may also offer prescription drug coverage that follows the same rules as the Medicare Part D coverage.

    Other Medicare plans include Medicare Cost Plans, demonstration/pilot programs, and PACE (Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly).

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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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