FEHBP & the Dependent in Your Basement

Thursday - 4/15/2010, 4:00am EDT

Few things in the new health care reform law are easy to figure out, much less explain in 3,000 words or less. And many of the still unfolding features people love, or hate, the most in the new law don't kick in until years in the future.

One of those delayed-implementation features extends dependent health care insurance coverage to adult children up through age 26. But not just yet.

Because of economic conditions and the not-so-great job market, lots of adult children have come back to the roost and are dependent on their parents for health insurance.

Putting your adult dependent child on your family plan works, provided they don't reach their 22nd birthday. Under current rules, most health plans, including 99 percent of those in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, cut off coverage shortly after the dependent's 22nd birthday.

The new law changed that, but the how and when part has eluded many people.

This prompted reader Jean M. to ask:

    "...I have FEHBP Blue Cross/Blue Shield. My son will lose coverage 31 days after his 22nd birthday next month (April 11+31 days) so I will be getting him a private policy until he finishes college (and hopefully gets a job with group health coverage).

    "Is there a way I can switch back to Family coverage to include him?" J. M.

We put the question to Sarah Holstine at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. She said:

    "The new provision extending dependent coverage includes FEHBP plans. This provision goes into effect in September, 2010 and will apply to the new health insurance year - January 2011.

    "Until 2012, the coverage is limited to dependents that do not have access to employer-provided health insurance. Beginning in 2014, all dependents up to the age of 26 will be able to stay on their parent's health insurance if the parents chose to keep them covered."

The next FEHBP open season (for the 2011 year) will run from mid-November through early December, as per usual.

COFFE With Alice Rivlin

Long-time, been-there-done that senior policy maker Alice Rivlin will be the speaker at the Council of Former Federal Executives luncheon ($25) at the Holiday Inn-Westpark in Rosslyn, Va. She was Director of both the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget. She's currently co-chair of the Task Force on Debt Reduction. Social hour starts at 11:30 and you can pay ($25) at the door. COFFE sessions are a great way to catch up with old friends and meet new folks who have a continuing interest in public service. For reservations e-mail: ewormser@erols.com

Feds In Paradise

Metro Washington has the largest concentration of federal workers in the nation. But even so, the vast majority of federal civil servants live outside the Beltway. So it's no surprise that Public Service Recognition Week (May3 - 7) is celebrated in lots of places.

Earlier this week Scott Lotter, Mayor of Paradise, California, said his fair city would accord full honors to PSRW. Credit H. Ray Harrington, president of the Greater Paradise/Orville chapter of the National Active and Federal Employees for getting feds their place in Paradise.

Tax Day Wish

Noting this is April 15, frequent contributor Stan the Man said "please wish all IRS employees who have a birthday April 15th 'Many Happy Returns.' This, of course, is an inappropriate utterance to anyone sharing that birthday who works in retail." Enough said!

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

In the running for the NUF Headline of the Week: Frog tadpoles 'scream' underwater discover scientists

(Lambs could not be reached for comment?)


ALSO ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

Sweet Treat for IRS Feds and All (hungry) Americans
Another kind of blizzard is headed to Washington today. This time, it won't shut down the city for days. Dairy Queen will park its Blizzardmobile outside the IRS building at 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. and hand out free Mini Blizzards. For more freebies, click here.

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