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9:26 pm, October 20, 2014

Benefits News

Why some feds are skeptical of new self-plus-one FEHBP option

Thanks to the bipartisan budget deal passed by Congress and on its way to the President's desk, though, federal employees will soon have a new health-insurance coverage option: "self plus one." Federal employees have long clamored for the couples-only option, but the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the FEHBP, has always demurred, citing concerns it would disrupt the risk-sharing inherent in large group plans. Now, with the self-plus-one option enshrined in law, at least one federal-employee union finds OPM's recent change of heart "problematic."

Thursday - 12/19/2013, 10:37am EST
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Self plus one and more

AFGE's public policy director Jacqueline Simon explains why her organization is opposed to the self plus one plan, and Sean Reilly and Andy Medici from the Federal Times will discuss what's ahead for feds and retirees in 2014.
December 18, 2013 (Encore presentations December 25, 2013 and January 1, 2014)

Wednesday - 12/18/2013, 06:16pm EST
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Couples-only health plan? Good idea or bad idea?

What do you think about a couples-only federal health plan? Would that be fair to the group plan and its group rates? The addition of a self-plus-one health plan could have consequences not only for that couple's premiums but also yours, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.

Wednesday - 12/18/2013, 05:48am EST

Planning tips for the federal employees

Federal benefits expert Bob Braunsten will answer your retirement and benefit planning questions.
December 16, 2013

Monday - 12/16/2013, 10:40pm EST
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Analyzing the budget deal

On this week's Your Turn radio show, host Mike Causey examines what's in the most recent budget deal that will impact feds.

Wednesday - 12/11/2013, 03:57pm EST
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How the budget deal will impact current and future feds

Newly hired federal workers will be required to contribute more toward their pensions and some military retirees will see smaller cost-of-living adjustments under a budget deal announced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Tuesday evening. The budget deal, which sets funding levels for the next two years, eases some of the bite of the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration. The pact restores about $63 billion to agency spending through the end of fiscal 2015, split about evenly between Defense and civilian agencies.

Wednesday - 12/11/2013, 04:08am EST

AFGE, NTEU try to stave off changes to retirement benefits

The two employee unions say lawmakers shouldn't make up for sequestration cuts by forcing federal employees to contribute more to their retirement. House and Senate legislators are working on a small-scale budget deal that reportedly includes a provision to alter federal retirement benefits.

Friday - 12/06/2013, 04:07am EST

Weighing your healthcare options

Walton Francis, author of the Checkbook Guide to Federal Health Plans, will answer your calls and emails about open season.
December 4, 2013

Wednesday - 12/04/2013, 07:00pm EST
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VA benefits set to slightly increase in 2014

When veterans and their families, who receive disability compensation and retirement benefits from the Veterans Affairs Department, receive their annual cost-of-living increase next month, for the first time ever, it won't be rounded down to the nearest dollar. Overall, the COLA for veterans benefits will increase 1.5 percent. Until this year, the COLA for veterans' benefits was rounded down to the nearest dollar. That will change with payments beginning in January.

Wednesday - 12/04/2013, 11:41am EST

Open season with Walton Francis

Insurance expert and author Walton Francis will answer your calls and emails about open season. (This show originally aired Nov. 11)
December 2, 2013

Monday - 12/02/2013, 12:00pm EST
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Why increasing feds' retirement contributions may not help cut the deficit

Requiring federal employees to contribute more of their salary toward retirement is rumored to be among the proposals being considered by the House-Senate budget conference committee as an partial alternative to the sequestration budget cuts. The proposal, which the Congressional Budget Office has concluded would increase federal revenues by nearly $20 billion over 10 years, has criticism from federal-employee unions. But now, at least one think tank, known for its hawkish stance on reducing the deficit, says the proposal could end up not saving the government a dime.

Monday - 12/02/2013, 06:00am EST

Plan B: You need 4 of them when shopping for insurance

In most serious situations, it's good to have a fallback Plan B. When shopping for health insurance you need four of them, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.

Monday - 12/02/2013, 02:00am EST

FEHBP, Medicare & the retiree blues

If you are like many federal workers -- and most retirees -- you won't do anything during the health-insurance Open Season, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says. And that could be a very costly mistake, especially for workers and particularly retirees in the most popular plans: Blue Cross Standard option and Blue Cross Basic. Both are excellent but one costs nearly twice as much as the other.

Friday - 11/29/2013, 02:00am EST

Deadline to schedule 'use it or lose it' annual leave is Nov. 30

Federal employees wanting to schedule "use it or lose it" annual leave only have a few days left before their excess vacation days are forfeited. The deadline to schedule excess annual leave is this Saturday, Nov. 30, Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta reiterated in a Nov. 26 memo to agency chief human capital officers. The leave must be used by Jan. 11, the end of the leave year.

Wednesday - 11/27/2013, 01:43pm EST

Sorry, your retirement date is extended 5 years!

Suppose Congress passed a law requiring you to work an extra five years? You'd be furious, right? Suppose, because you are just plain cheap, you forced yourself to work an extra five years? Guess what? It happens every day, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.

Wednesday - 11/27/2013, 02:00am EST

Mass-transit subsidy, once again, set to decline

If Congress fails to act by the end of the year, a tax subsidy for commuters who use mass transit is set to drop from a maximum of $245 a month to $130. At the same time, fringe benefits for parking are set to rise to $250 a month starting in January. Two stand-alone measures in the House and Senate would restore parity between the parking and mass-transit subsidies

Tuesday - 11/26/2013, 01:23pm EST

Open Season with SAMBA and Long Term Care Partners

SAMBA Executive Director Walt Wilson and Deputy Director Pam Cummings, as well as Joan Melanson from Long Term Care Partners, talk about your Open Season options.
November 25, 2013

Monday - 11/25/2013, 05:09pm EST
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Bill calls for 'socially responsible' TSP fund

A new bill would allow federal employees to contribute toward their retirement by investing only in companies deemed socially responsible. The "Federal Employees Responsible Investment Act," introduced this week by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would require the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to add a "Corporate Responsibility Index" to the existing five investment options available to federal employees.

Friday - 11/22/2013, 05:14pm EST

Best buys during Open Season

Walton Francis, author of the Checkbook Guide to the Health Plan for Federal Employees, and NARFE's David Snell will answer your open season questions.
November 20, 2013 (Encore presentation November 27, 2013)

Wednesday - 11/20/2013, 05:36pm EST
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Survive Open Season and save a thousand bucks!

Do you have 3-1/2 minutes to invest in a project that could save you $1,000 to $2,000 next year? Check out Senior Correspondent Mike Causey's column for more.

Wednesday - 11/20/2013, 02:00am EST
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