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Frequently Asked Questions Insurance

  • Premiums are paid on a pre-tax basis (premium conversion) if you are an active employee and your salary is sufficient to make the premium withholding. Pre-tax premiums are not available to annuitants, survivor annuitants or compensationers.
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  • Once Medicare becomes the primary payer, you may find that a lower cost FEHB plan is adequate for your needs, especially if you are currently enrolled in a plan's high option. Also, some plans waive deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments when Medicare is primary.
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  • Federal and U.S. Postal Service employees eligible for FEHB coverage (whether or not enrolled) and annuitants/survivor annuitants/compensationers (regardless of FEHB eligibility) are eligible to enroll.
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  • During the first 12 months of LWOP, your FEGLI coverage continues. If you die during the first 12 months, OFEGLI uses the salary at the time of death to compute the benefit. For example:

    Stan had Basic insurance only. He went on LWOP February 1, 2003. His salary at that time was $18,449. In September 2003, he got a within-grade increasing his salary to $20,849.00. He died November 15, 2003. Since he died during the first 12 months of LWOP, life insurance is payable. The basic salary used to compute the benefit is $20,849.00.
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  • For a small number of individuals it may make sense to waive premium conversion. There are two items to consider in making a decision to waive participation and they are:

    Flexibility

    Under IRS rules, you may reduce coverage (cancel, or change from Self and Family to Self Only) only during an Open Season or at the time of a qualifying life event.

    Social Security

    Paying your premiums with pre-tax money reduces your earnings reported to the Social Security Administration. When you begin to collect Social Security (normally this occurs at age 65), you may receive a slightly lower Social Security benefit. The extent of the impact will vary depending upon the retirement system you participate in, your salary compared with the Social Security wage base ($87,000 in 2003) and the number of years until you retire.

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  • A. In order for you to continue your health benefits enrollment into retirement, you must: (1) be entitled to retire on an immediate annuity under a retirement system for civilian employees (including the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) + 10 retirement; and (2) have been continuously enrolled (or covered as a family member) in any Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program plan(s) (not necessarily the same plan) for the five years of service immediately before the date your annuity starts, or for the full period(s) of service since your first opportunity to enroll (if less than 5 years). The 5 year requirement period can include the following: the time you are covered as a family member under another person's FEHB enrollment; or the time you are covered under the Uniformed Services Health Benefits Program (also known as TRICARE) as long as you were covered under an FEHB enrollment at the time of your retirement.
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  • If you provide documentation to your retirement system that you are suspending your FEHB coverage to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may reenroll in FEHB if you later lose or cancel your Medicare Advantage plan coverage. However, you must wait until the next Open Season to reenroll in FEHB, unless you involuntarily lose your coverage under the Medicare Advantage plan (including because the plan is discontinued or because you move outside its service area). In this case, you may reenroll from 31 days before to 60 days after you lose the Medicare Advantage plan coverage, and your reenrollment in FEHB will be effective the day after the Medicare Advantage plan coverage ends (or ended).
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  • Yes. The amount of your FEGLI automatically increases when your salary goes up, whenever your annual pay is increased by an amount sufficient to raise the pay to the next $1,000 bracket.
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  • The effective date of the Open Season change is the first day of the first full pay period in January. For annuitants this date will always be January 1.
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  • No. Employees may not suspend their coverage. However, they can cancel their coverage to use CHAMPVA, TRICARE or TRICARE-for-Life. Employees who do not participate in premium conversion may cancel their enrollment at any time. For employees who participate in premium conversion, eligibility for CHAMPVA or TRICARE is not a qualifying life event that would allow them to cancel their FEHB enrollment. These employees may cancel during any annual FEHB Open Season.

    If an employee who canceled FEHB coverage to use CHAMPVA, TRICARE or TRICARE-for-Life decides to return to FEHB coverage, the employee can do so during a future Open Season. If the employee loses CHAMPVA, TRICARE or TRICARE-for-Life coverage involuntarily, the employee can immediately reenroll in the FEHB Program.

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