Workforce

Feds face insurance bills

man paying bills

If the government shutdown had continued, federal employees would have been billed for some insurance coverage that normally would be deducted from their paychecks. (Stock image)

With a resolution of the partial government shutdown apparently at hand, it looks like federal employees have dodged a financial bullet involving their share of premiums for dental and long-term care insurance. In the unlikely event that the standoff is not resolved and lasts into November, federal employees would be billed directly for their share of premiums for their dental, vision, and critical-care insurance.

Editor's note: A deal was reached to end the shutdown late on the evening of Oct. 16, after this article as published.

While feds are covered indefinitely for medical insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits, the shutdown guidance from the Office of Personnel Management makes clear that the same does not apply to the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Plan (FEDVIP) and the Federal Long Term Care Program (FLTCIP), which covers nursing home care.

Federal employees who are on furlough and those who remain on the job during the partial shutdown haven't been paid since the pay period ending Oct. 5. If Nov. 2 rolls around without the government reopening, feds will be on the hook for FEDVIP premiums. After Nov. 16, they would start getting billed for FLTCIP.

The employee contributions to these premiums vary from plan to plan. Feds might pay as little as $10 per pay period for a one-person plan, or as high as $70 per pay period for family coverage. The FLTCIP contributions are more complicated, based on the age of the participant, the length of the coverage desired, and how long an employee has been paying in. A 30-year-old starting on a relatively lavish plan might pay $50 per pay period.

It's not clear what latitude federal workers, who haven't been paid in weeks, would have to delay payments and maintain coverage. It's also unclear how soon bills would go out after the end of pay periods, and if feds would be required to pay for all or some of their outstanding premiums. The Office of Personnel Management and the Long Term Care Partners, which administers FLTCIP and FEDVIP did not respond to requests for comment.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is FCW's senior staff writer, and covers Congress, health IT and governmentwide IT policy. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.

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