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Federal Employees News Digest : Oct 7, 2013
October 7, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 12 5 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com Health Benefits Program could offer advantages as well as pose disadvan- tages, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The bill (S. 1486), co-authored by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), is the leading postal reform proposal currently under consideration in Congress. The Postal Service and postal unions alike have called for stemming the flow of red ink by rolling back a statutory requirement for USPS to fully pre-fund retiree health benefits. That require- ment alone, managers and labor leaders point out, creates the vast majority of USPS’s red ink. GAO, in this and past reports, emphasizes that—lacking that statu- tory change—if USPS remains in FEHBP, the Postal Service will have to continue to pre-fund 100 percent of retiree health benefits—or, at a bare minimum, pre-fund at 80 percent for a limited period of time. Alternatively, GAO noted that USPS could leave FEHBP and establish its own program—a plan also proposed by the Postal Service—so that current employees could be covered by that health insurance while retirees would increase the use of Medicare. “According to USPS’s estimates, [the resulting] financial gains would significantly reduce its health benefits expenses and eliminate its unfunded retiree health benefit liability—with increased use of Medicare by retirees comprising most of the projected liabil- ity reduction,” the GAO report said. Consequently, the report noted, “USPS also has projected that its proposal will increase Medicare spending.” While GAO believes that such a plan would help to bring USPS back to solvency, auditors also warned that because USPS’s savings would be gained by shifting costs to the Medicare program, Congress “should weigh the impact on Medicare, which also faces fiscal pressure,” the report said. To see more, go to: www.gao.gov/ products/GAO-13-872T. Hispanic share of fed workforce rises Office of Personnel Management data indicate that more Hispanics are joining the federal workforce, but chal- lenges remain in increasing the group’s representation across agencies. According to the report, there were 159,651 Hispanic civilian federal employees in fiscal 2012, up from 157,693 in FY 2011—a small increase of 1,958. The rise represents a boost in 20 out of 25 of the largest agencies, with five holding steady, unchanged. 2014 Federal Employees Almanac Your one-stop resource on federal benefits — completely revised with the latest 2014 rules, regulations, and procedures! Reserve NOW for Best Savings www.FederalDaily.com/catalog • 800.989.3363 Shipping February 2014 2014AlmanacFederalEmployees2014AlmanacFederalEmployees2014AlmanacFederalEmployees continued on page 8 continued from page 4
Sep 30, 2013
Oct 14, 2013