by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
Federal Employees News Digest : Dec 2, 2013
This last of five columns discussing how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 affects federal employees discusses the circumstances under which an employee would apply for indi- vidual health insurance on a health care exchange. The Nov. 11 column discussed under what cir- cumstances an employee's or annuitant's young adult child aged 22 to 26 would apply for health insurance on a health care exchange. As explained in a previous column, the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program is con- sidered "creditable" health insurance coverage. As such, employees who are enrolled in the FEHB pro- gram are fulfilling the "individual mandate" of the ACA and need not apply outside the FEHB program in order to have creditable health insurance coverage. The FEHB program is in fact one of the best benefits offered to employees and their families. But there are circumstances under which an employee could lose FEHB cover- age, including: • An employee separates from service. The employee is not transferring to another federal agency or retiring from federal service. FEHB coverage terminates on the last day of the pay period in which the employee separates from federal service. • A FERS-covered employee meets the requirement for an immediate FERS annuity under FERS + 10 (“postponed”) retirement. The employee postpones receipt of their FERS annuity in order to avoid the 5 percent per year under age 62 penalty applied to the FERS annuity. FEHB coverage terminates (temporarily) on the last day of the pay period in which the employee separates from service. FEHB coverage will resume when the FERS annuity starts. • An employee switches to another federal job and that job is excluded from FEHB eligibility. FEHB coverage terminates on the last day of the position eligible for FEHB program benefits. • An employee has 365 continuous days of leave without pay, or is on the last day of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. FEHB coverage is terminated on the later of the two days. • An employee exhausts the 365 days continuation of FEHB coverage during a leave without pay (LWOP) status. If the employee has not had four consecutive months of pay status, then FEHB coverage terminates on the last day of the last pay period in pay status. In each of these circumstances the employee loses FEHB coverage, at least temporarily. What can these individuals do to get insured? Besides joining another family member's health insurance plan if possible, the following are some suggestions, including advantages and disadvantages. • Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC). The advantage of TCC is that former employees can keep their FEHB program coverage for up to three years following their departure from federal service. The disadvantage of TCC is that an enrollee must pay both the employee portion and the employer portion of the FEHB premium, plus a 2 percent administrative charge. • Another group health insurance plan. Ideally one will be able to find other employment with an employer who offers creditable health insurance benefits and who pays most of the premiums. The advantages are that the new employer is paying most of the insurance premiums and the plan is considered creditable coverage, similar to the FEHB program. The disadvantage is that there is no such guarantee one can find such an employer. May small employers---those employers with fewer than 50 employees---do not offer any health benefits to their employees nor are they required to under the ACA. • Health care exchanges. The advantage of applying for health insurance on the health care exchanges is that there is guaranteed issue without the need to furnish full evidence of insurability. Another advantage is that there may be premium assistance in the form of tax credits for those individuals who qualify based on their income. The disadvantage of applying on the exchange is that there are several plans to choose from, categorized as "gold," "silver," "bronze" and "platinum" plans. Another disadvantage is that there is no guarantee that an applicant for insurance on the exchange will be able to continue to use his or her doctors. Also, the cost of health care exchange plans will vary by state. Employees who have lost their FEHB coverage are encouraged to check the premium cost of their state's health care exchange plans and compare it to the cost of TCC. Chances may be that the cost of the health care exchange plan will be less than the cost of TCC for the same type of plan. A former spouse of a federal employee is also eligible for TCC when he or she has been covered in the FEHB program as a family member at some time during the 18 months before the marriage to the employee ended. This is because the former spouse does not meet the remaining requirements for continu- ing FEHB coverage under the "spouse equity" provisions of the FEHB law. After 36 months, the TCC will cease and the former spouse will have to enroll in a new health insurance plan, pos- sibly through a health care exchange. Learn how to select the right health plan for 2014 with Edward A. Zurndorfer's special series of weekly Federal Daily Open Season col- umns---appearing this month only at FederalDaily.com. Edward A. Zurndorfer is a Certified Financial Planner and Enrolled Agent in Silver Spring, MD. He is also a registered representative with FSC Securities Corporation, branch address: 833 Bromley St. - Suite A, Silver Spring, MD 20902. Phone: (301) 681-1652. Securities offered through FSC Securities Corporation,member FINRA/SIPC. EZ Accounting and Financial Services and FSC are independent companies. Informed Investor The effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Part V December 2, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 20 10 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com
Nov 25, 2013
Dec 9, 2013