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Insurance FAQs Health

  • First, check your plan's brochure to see if the service is covered, limited or excluded. The next step is to review the disputed claims section of your brochure. Briefly, the disputed claims section will direct you to write to the plan to explain why (in terms of the applicable brochure coverage provisions) you feel the services should be covered, and to ask the plan to reconsider your claim. If the plan again denies the claim, read the plan's decision letter carefully and then check your plan's brochure again. If you still disagree with the plan's decision, the disputed claims section of your brochure will show you how to write to the Office of Personnel Management to ask us to review the claim. We can't review a denied claim unless your plan has reconsidered it first (or at least been given an opportunity to reconsider it). Your disputed claim will be reviewed in one of three Health Insurance Groups. Generally, we will acknowledge your request within 5 days. After we complete the review, we will send you a final response within 60 days. If we need more time before we can decide, or if you need to do more -- such as send us more information -- before we can decide, we will contact you within 14 work days of the time we get your request and tell you what you still need to do, if anything. We are sorry but we cannot give you a decision over the phone until the review has been completed and a written copy of the final decision has been issued.
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  • A brand name drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is supplied by one company (the pharmaceutical manufacturer). The drug is protected by a patent and is marketed under the manufacturer's brand name.
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  • You are correct. Problems arising from oral discussions are very difficult to settle later because they are impossible to prove or disprove. In contractual situations such as under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, oral statements can never be regarded as official and, so, the brochures state that oral statements made by any representative of a carrier cannot modify the benefits described in the brochure. If a serious decision -- such as whether to enroll or not enroll in a plan -- hinges on such a coverage issue, do not rely on a verbal response. This is particularly true if the response disagrees with the plan's brochure benefits description.
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  • Premium conversion may slightly reduce the Social Security benefit you will receive upon retirement. The extent of the impact depends upon several factors:
    • the retirement system that you participate in;
    • whether your salary exceeds the Social Security wage base; and
    • the number of years left until your retirement.
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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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  • Yes. FEHB regulations provide that an employee’s FEHB is automatically reinstated upon return to employment following active duty. An annuitant’s FEHB is automatically reinstated on the day of separation from the uniformed services.
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  • If you were unable to choose another plan during military service, your Human Resources Office should reinstate your old enrollment code (for enrollment history purposes only), give you an opportunity to change to another plan, and immediately process your change. To avoid any break in coverage, they should make your new enrollment effective on the date they would have reinstated your old enrollment.
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  • “Changes to Federal Benefits Eligibility Due to Health Reform” are now available on OPM’s website at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/aca/index.asp.  These FAQs provide your employees with important information about child eligibility and Federal Benefits under the Affordable Care Act. FastFacts offering a basic understanding of the Affordable Care Act and child eligibility under the Federal Benefits Health Benefits (FEHB) Program are now available on our website at http://www.opm.gov/insure/fastfacts/reform.pdf.  The FastFacts is a two-page document designed to be easily posted to a bulletin board as well as distributed electronically. These and additional resources about health care reform are available on our website at www.opm.gov/insure/health/reform.   If you have specific questions, please contact your agency’s benefits officer. If you do not know who this person is, please go to http://apps.opm.gov/abo/ where you will find a list of agencies and their Headquarters Benefits Officers.
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  • Unfortunately, there are areas of the country that HMOs have simply chosen not to participate in the FEHB Program. Reasons for this vary, but most cases involve population size or demographics. There is no minimum requirement for the number of HMO options available to enrollees throughout the country. We have encouraged HMO participation in the Program because many of our participants have asked for that choice of health plan. In fact, under the FEHBP, the only types of health plans that can be added to the Program are HMOs. And, HMOs have an annual opportunity to submit their applications to participate in the Program. If you have HMOs in your local area that do not currently participate in the FEHBP, we encourage you to ask these HMOs to consider the FEHBP market for their geographic areas. New plan application packages for the FEHB Program are available at www.opm.gov/insure/health/carriers/index.asp. Applications are due to OPM by January 31 of each year for the next contract term.
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  • No. Your agency can postpone automatic reinstatement of your FEHB until your transitional TRICARE ends if you sign a Waiver of Immediate Reinstatement of FEHB, which is available through your Human Resources Office.
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  • If you do not meet these requirements, the authority for you to continue your FEHB comes from the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) (38 U.S.C. 4317). Public Law 108-454 amended this Act to allow you to continue your FEHB for 24 months if you were called to military duty and elected to continue your health insurance coverage on or after December 10, 2004. If you made your election before December 10, 2004, you are eligible to continue your FEHB for 18 months. If your FEHB continues under this provision, your agency does not have authority to pay your premiums while you are on military duty. For additional information, see Benefits Administration Letter 06-401 at BAL 06-401 Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program: Extended Coverage for Employees Called to Active Military Duty. [54 KB]
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    • Self Only                                                                                                                                                      
    • Self and Family
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  • No. Approximately half of all drugs on the market have generic versions.
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  • Most FEHB fee-for-service plans offer Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) arrangements. When selecting your health care practitioner, your use of PPO providers whenever possible will help reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, PPO providers will generally file your claims for you. Read your plan's FEHB brochure carefully to find out about other incentives. Contact your plan to obtain the names of PPO providers in your area. You should also visit your plan's website (identified on the front of the plan's brochure and available by link from this website). Many plans provide up-to-date lists of PPO providers on their website. Another way to cut costs is to request generic drugs instead of brand name drugs. A generic medication is a copy of a brand name drug. It has the same active ingredients and receives the same Food and Drug Administration approval but costs less. Most plans charge you a lower copay if you use generic drugs.
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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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Total Count: 588, Number of Pages: 40, Page: 8
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