Teleworking, FEHBP: Different Strokes!

Friday - 5/14/2010, 4:00am EDT

The fact that Vanilla is America's favorite ice cream (29 percent) isn't a big surprise. Or that Chocolate is number two, favored by 8.9 percent of consumers.

But Praline Pecan (Butter Pecan) among the top 10!

Or Neapolitan at the number 5 position! Who knew? (The numbers are as of the survey by the International Ice Cream Association in 2005.)

I guess it just goes to show that people are different. As in the bumper sticker: "I'd rather push a Chevy than drive a Ford." Or is it the other way around?

Anyhow, different strokes.

In the place most of us spend our peak awake time, the office, we have strong and differing opinions about rules, working conditions, relationships and fairness. Some campers are happier than others.

Two good examples of the different-strokes theory involve teleworking and health insurance coverage.

Congress is moving to expand teleworking opportunities for feds, and to immediately raise the age for dependent health coverage from 22 to 26. Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin has introduced a bill in the Senate to speed up the process.

Both pending changes seem like long-overdue no-brainers to many feds. Especially those who want to telework or who have uninsured dependents.

But a good number of people argue that neither is an "entitlement" and that too much time and energy is being wasted to win the benefits.

  • "I think raising the age for dependent coverage is almost necessary in today's economy. 22 is not what it used to be. These days kids are staying in school longer, going for their Master's degree or PhD. I didn't graduate until I was 23 (and that was only 5 years in school) to get my Masters. I was lucky enough to get a job right away, but didn't start for a few months after graduation. That gap was when insurance came into play. I, like most young adults, would have just gone without insurance (never a good idea), but luckily my parents' plan allowed them to pay a little extra to cover me. College grads aren't going to, and usually don't have the funds to, pay for a full health insurance plan right out of 4+ years of school and no job. Would you rather have a group of uninsured people? And in today's economy, it's not easy to get a job right out of school. It's not that these kids are lazy or not trying, trust me they want to get paid, the opportunities are just harder to come by. There will always be people that abuse every system, but what about the people that actually need it? " Michelle

  • "In all I have been reading about raising the FEHBP coverage for dependents to age 26, there is nothing about raising the cost for those who choose this option. Could this be a free add on?

    "My concern is that if it is free, Congress will get other ideas for free add ons and bring FEHBP crashing down around us.

    "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH!" Anon

  • "It is true that the young under most circumstances do not accrue the medical bills or have need for maintenance drugs. As a younger person working for the Federal government I rarely went to the doctor and did not file claims against my health insurance. I did however pay full premiums, i.e., the same premium paid by the older/retired federal employee. If I read your column correctly, now they want to penalize me for being older by charging an additional premium so that the young can pay less.

    "There is a plan in place for the young, one that calls for a high deductible, but then if you don't use it the deductible does not come into play.

    "Leave the retirees alone, we paid our dues." Pat

(Note: To cover more than one person, feds must buy a family plan with higher premiums. Couples of have a family plan and people with big families pay the same premium in the same plan.)

Old-Timers On Teleworking

The other day we printed an e-mail from a IRS old-timer who said that teleworking for the most part is a scam. Which brought this response from another self-described old-timer:

    "I have 30 years with the IRS and I telework. I find that the two hours sitting in a car each way to and from work is simply a waste of good time. I have been working in the field for better than 25 years and I find that teleworking is no different that working in the field. You have to meet your deadlines, and you need to spend your time working. As for the teacher's pet, I doubt that I would be considered a pet. I have found that if I want a promotion at this point, then I'll need to add to my years of service. I'm sorry that you find the idea of someone who is not sitting in the office can actually be working and getting the job completed.