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Insurance FAQs

  • Being sent to a combat zone does NOT cancel FEGLI coverage. Civilian employees who are sent to a war zone or combat zone in a support capacity keep their FEGLI coverage, including Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage. Being sent to a combat zone does not affect the amount of your FEGLI coverage. If a Federal employee working in a war zone is killed, "regular" death benefits are payable to the employee's beneficiaries. Accidental death benefits are also payable under Basic insurance (and Option A, if the employee had that coverage) unless the employee was in actual combat (or unless nuclear weapons were being used) at the time of the injury that caused the employee's death. The Office of Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI) decides whether to pay accidental death benefits only after thoroughly studying the facts and documentation surrounding an employee's death. The determination is made on a case by case basis. While we cannot say that in 100% of civilian deaths AD&D benefits will be payable, we can say that it is highly unlikely for a civilian to be in actual combat. Accidental death benefits are in addition to regular death benefits. Even if accidental death benefits are not payable, regular death benefits ARE payable.
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  • Some health plans offer dental and vision benefits separate from the officially offered benefits stated in their FEHB brochures. Such separate benefits are described on the "Non-FEHB Benefits" page in FEHB brochures. The plans solely determine what is covered and what is excluded and you must pay any premium associated with these benefits directly to the health or dental plan. There is no government contribution toward the premium on non-FEHB benefits. Also, some health plans offer a separate dental plan that does not require you to be a member of their health plan. And, occasionally, an agency's employee organization offers dental and vision benefits to the agency's employees. Check with your Human Resources Office.
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  • There are no exclusions or waiting periods for pre-existing conditions in any plan in the FEHB Program. This is also true after you retire.
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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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  • 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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  • The 24-month period begins the day you are separated, furloughed, or placed on leave of absence to serve on military duty. This applies even if part of your military service is covered by paid leave immediately followed by furlough or other leave without pay.
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  • When a drug patent expires other companies may produce a generic version of the brand name drug. A generic medication, also approved by the FDA, is basically a copy of the brand name drug and is marketed under its chemical name. A generic drug may have a different color or shape than its brand name counterpart, but it must have the same active ingredients, strength, and dosage form (i.e., pill, liquid, or injection), and provide the same effectiveness and safety as its brand name counterpart.
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  • If you elect a full Living Benefit, you stop paying premiums and the Government no longer pays its contributions for your Basic life coverage. If you elect a partial Living Benefit, your agency will adjust the withholdings and contributions for your post-election Basic Insurance Amount. The amount of the post-election Basic does not change. Subsequent salary changes have no effect on the Basic amount. However, if you have Option B coverage, it will continue to change with salary changes. A Living Benefit election has no effect on your any Optional insurance you may have.
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  • Yes, your coverage continues unchanged, unless you make a change during Open Season or as a result of a Qualifying Life Event that permits a change outside of Open Season.
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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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  • Examples Susan L. has $100 per pay period deducted from her salary for her contribution towards FEHB coverage. Ms. L's employing agency mistakenly deducts $150 during the last pay period prior to the effective date of her participation in premium conversion. To correct the error, the agency deducts $50 for FEHB from Ms. Lee's pay in the following pay period, during which she has begun participating in premium conversion. Except for agency error, $100 would have been deducted from her pay. However, only $50 is treated on a pre-tax basis. Ms. L's employing agency mistakenly makes no FEHB deduction during the last pay period prior to the effective date of her participation in premium conversion. To correct the error, the agency deducts $200 from Ms. L's pay in the following pay period, during which she has begun participating in premium conversion. Since the deduction for FEHB coverage is taken after she begins participation in premum conversion, $200 is afforded pre-tax treatment. Ms. L's employing agency mistakenly does not process her participation in premium conversion. As a consequence, Ms. L's $100 FEHB deduction is not afforded pre-tax treatment. To correct the error, the agency changes Ms. L's premium conversion status to "participant" in the following pay period. If not for the error, Ms. L. would have had $200 deducted from her pay on a pre-tax basis. However, only $100 is eligible for pre-tax treatment. As you can see, under these rules an error correction may result in a greater or lower tax benefit than would otherwise have occurred.
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  • Yes.
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  • You can find information about Medicare and resources on how to address issues with your Medicare enrollment at medicare.gov.
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  • TCC is a feature of the FEHB Program that allows certain people to temporarily continue their FEHB coverage after regular coverage ends. Please note that you must exhaust TCC eligibility, as one condition for guaranteed access to individual coverage under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
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  • Yes.
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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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  • 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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  • Yes. If you owe money to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, such as an overpayment of annuity, you may assign your life insurance. You cannot assign your insurance, however, to pay a deposit or redeposit to get credit for time during which you did not have retirement deductions withheld from your salary or for a period of service for which you received a refund of your retirement contributions. You must make a deposit and/or redeposit before you can get credit for the service in the computation of your annuity. When you assign your life insurance coverage, the assignee does not receive the money until you die.
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  • You can use Employee Express anytime, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
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  • If you believe that OPM is not complying with a requirement of the Privacy Rule you may file with either OPM or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights a written complaint, either on paper or electronically. This complaint must be filed within 180 days of when the complainant knew or should have known that the act had occurred. For more information on how to file a complaint with OPM, please review our NPP. For instructions and information on how to file a complaint directly with HHS, please refer to their website www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/.
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Total Count: 976, Number of Pages: 49, Page: 9
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