Health Insurance - Eligibility for participation in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program depends on the type of Federal appointment. Generally, Federal employees who receive appointments that are limited to 1 year or less are excluded. Employees on temporary appointments are eligible after one year of continuous federal service. Also, individuals with temporary appointments designated as "provisional appointment" are eligible since this type of appointment is used to expedite placement in a position expected to be permanent while the necessary procedures required for non-temporary appointment are proceeding, such as a pending Senate confirmation or security clearance. After an initial enrollment opportunity, the FEHB Program permits enrollment changes during a 4-week open season period each November and upon certain Qualifying Life Events (QLE).
Plans: Eligible and newly eligible employees will receive materials describing available plans from the employing agency and must make an enrollment election within 60 days of becoming eligible. The FEHB Program offers each employee several government-wide fee-for-service plans (some which require membership in employee organizations), health maintenance organizations serving the geographic area in which the employee lives or works, Consumer Driven Health Plans and High Deductible Health Plans. Enrollment may be for self-only or for self-and-family.
The Government contribution equals 72 percent of the program-wide weighted average of subscription charges in effect each year for self-only enrollments and for self-and-family enrollments, subject to the maximum of 75 percent of the charges for any particular plan or option. Employees are subject to payroll withholdings for health plan costs in excess of the Government contribution.
Premium Conversion: Eligible and newly eligible employees who elect to participate in the FEHB Program are eligible to participate automatically in premium conversion. Otherwise, enrollment must be waived with 60 days of becoming eligible. Premium conversion is a tax benefit. It allows an employee's contribution for health insurance to be made on a pre-tax basis, which means that the money is not subject to Federal income, Medicare, or Social Security taxes.
Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program - The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) provides supplemental insurance for federal and postal employees, annuitants and their eligible family members. They must be eligible for FEHB before they can elect FEDVIP (it does not matter if they are enrolled in FEHB). Eligible individuals can enroll during the annual open season (same as FEHB above), within 60 days of becoming eligible, within 60 days of returning to service following a break in service of at least 31 days and within 31 days before to 60 days after a QLE. Enrollment may be for self-only, self-plus-one or self-and-family. Employees pay the entire premium which is withheld from their salary on a pre-tax basis. Employees must enroll using the BENEFEDS website at http://www.benefeds.com.
Flexible Spending Account - The Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a pre-tax program that allows employees to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars. There are three programs under FSA – Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA), Limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account (LEX HCFSA) and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA). New or newly eligible employees have 60 days to enroll. Employees must re-enroll each year during the annual open season that coincides with the FEHB open season. Current employees cannot enroll outside of an open season unless there are reasons beyond their control or there is a QLE. The maximum amount that can be allotted for HCFSA and LEX HCFSA is $5,000 and the minimum is $250. The maximum amount that can be elected for DCFSA is the lesser of: $5,000 for single individuals or married couples filing joint returns; $2,500 for married couples filing separate returns. Employees must use all the money in their account or lose it at the end of the Benefit Period. The Benefit Period begins January 1 and ends March 15 of the following year. They must enroll using the FSA website at http://www.fsafeds.com.
Sites of Interest:
Life Insurance - Eligibility to participate in the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program also depends on the type of Federal appointment. Generally, Federal employees who receive appointments which are limited to 1 year or less are excluded. However, individuals with temporary appointments designated as "provisional appointment" are eligible as explained above under Health Insurance. If life insurance coverage is waived on first opportunity to enroll, subsequent opportunities are very limited.
Sites of Interest: OPM’s Your FEGLI Coverage
Long Term Care Insurance - The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program is administered by LTC Partners, which is a joint subsidiary of John Hancock Life Insurance Company and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Long Term Care (LTC) provides assistance to a person when a serious illness or lengthy disability makes them unable to care for themselves. Federal employees, retirees and qualified family members may be eligible for LTC. Federal employees do not have to be enrolled in FEHB plan but must be eligible to enroll. Qualified relatives of employees include spouse, parents, in-laws, stepparents and adult children, 18 years of age, living with the employee or retiree. The cost depends on the employee or family member's age and coverage elected at the time of application. Federal employees and retirees can enroll by going to http://www.ltcfeds.com and requesting a FLTCIP Information Kit.
Sites of Interest: OPM Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
Retirement Coverage - Eligibility for retirement coverage depends upon the type of appointment. Most types of appointments, including "provisional appointments," will be subject to retirement coverage. However, generally, temporary appointments limited to a year or less and intermittent appointments are excluded from coverage eligibility. Other less common appointments may also be excluded from coverage eligibility. Types of Coverage Retirement-eligible appointees who are new to Government service will be covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), a three-tiered system consisting of the FERS basic benefits, Social Security, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Appointees who are now Government employees, or who have prior Government service, may be covered under one of several plans, depending upon individual circumstances. Those plans include FERS, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) without Social Security coverage, or a combination of CSRS with Social Security coverage called CSRS Offset.
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Page last edited: February 15, 2012