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Insurance FAQs 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • First, have your doctor contact the plan to discuss the situation. You and your doctor can provide your plan with information to support your contention that the surgery should be authorized, such as medical records that indicate the need for the surgery, and ask your plan to reconsider its decision. If the plan reconsiders its decision but continues to uphold its denial, and after considering the plan's rationale you still disagree, consult the disputed claims section of your plan's brochure for specific information on how to write to the Office of Personnel Management to ask us to review the claim.
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  • To inquire about how much coverage you have under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, go to Retirement Services Online at https://www.servicesonline.opm.gov.  You will need your retirement claim number and Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access information about your health benefits enrollment.    If you cannot access Retirement Services Online, you can inquire about your coverage by contacting OPM’s Retirement Office at 1-888-767-6738 or retire@opm.gov.  The phone lines are open from 7:30 am to 7:45 pm (Eastern Standard Time). It is a busy phone number so we encourage you to call early in the morning or after 5:00 pm when the phone lines are less busy.
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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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  • While you may count the time you are covered under transitional TRICARE toward meeting the 5 year/initial opportunity requirement to continue your FEHB into retirement, you must be covered under FEHB on the day you retire. If you plan to retire during your transitional TRICARE period, you must reinstate your FEHB before your retirement date. Your Human Resources Office can assist you.
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  • Yes. You should still send a copy of the court order to your Human Resources Office to review and make a determination if any action is required. They will file the copy in your OPF and flag it so that they know a court order relating to health benefits has been filed. If your children aren't listed as family members on the SF 2809, they will send a copy of the court order to your FEHB plan.
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  • You should contact your Human Resources Office for the appropriate information for employees covered under FEHB who are called to military duty.
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  • Not all screens are accessible by all employees or available at all agencies. For example, if you participate in premium conversion, you may not change from Self and Family to Self Only or cancel your FEHB enrollment at any time. Therefore, this menu option will not appear. You may still be able to change your enrollment if you have experienced a qualifying life event, or QLE. If you don't find the change option on your menu, see your Human Resources Office.
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  • If you cancel your FEHB, you need to be aware of the following consequences that apply to all employees who cancel their FEHB, including:
    • You and your dependents are no longer covered under the FEHB Program.
    • You may not reenroll in FEHB until you lose your TAMP coverage or have another qualifying life event (QLE) that permits enrollment, or until the next FEHB Open Season. If you reenroll because you lose TAMP coverage, you must do so from 31 days before to 60 days after your TAMP ends, and use Code 1M on Health Benefits Election Form, SF 2809, at www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf2809 [848 KB]. Additional QLEs that permit enrollment, for example, a change in family status, are listed on SF 2809. If you have one of these QLEs, you must enroll within the timeframes shown.
    • If you transfer to another Federal agency, your cancellation follows you and you may not reenroll until you lose your TAMP coverage or have another QLE that permits enrollment, or until the next FEHB Open Season. See above bullet for details.
    • If you separate from your employment, you will not be eligible for temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) because you will not have any FEHB enrollment to continue. Also, you will not have an FEHB enrollment to convert to an individual policy with your former insurance carrier.
    • If you retire, you will not have an FEHB enrollment to continue into retirement.
    • If you die, you will not have an FEHB family enrollment for your survivors to continue, even if they are eligible for a survivor annuity.
    Note: Your agency may ask you to sign a statement stating that you understand these consequences.
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  • Your former Human Resources Office should send the new agency your Waiver of Immediate Reinstatement of FEHB along with your FEHB records, so that your postponement may continue. Your new agency should reinstate your FEHB and transfer it in to their payroll office on the date you requested by using the Notice of Change in Health Benefits Enrollment (Standard Form 2810). It is important that you check your leave and earnings statement to be sure that your FEHB is reinstated on the date you requested.
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Total Count: 587, Number of Pages: 40, Page: 6
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