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8:03 am, December 22, 2014

Benefits News

OPM seeks changes to feds' benefits, insurance opportunities

The Office of Personnel Management recently filed two proposals to change how feds enroll in the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program and to expand the regulations of the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance.

Thursday - 01/02/2014, 01:25pm EST

Mass-transit benefit declines thanks to congressional inaction

Are you a federal employee who uses public transportation to get to work? Be prepared to shell out more for your commute. Because of congressional inaction, a tax subsidy for mass-transit commuters is set to drop nearly in half from a maximum of $245 a month to $130.

Wednesday - 01/01/2014, 02:00am EST

Planning tips for the federal employees

Federal benefits expert Bob Braunsten will answer your retirement and benefit planning questions.
December 30, 2013

Monday - 12/30/2013, 10:40pm EST
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Will OPM allow flexible-spending rollovers?

Under federal "use it or lose it" rules, any unspent money employees set aside last year to pay for out-of-pocket health costs, such as prescriptions or co-pays, is forfeited at the end of the year. But a group of senators from states surrounding the Washington, D.C., area, wants to change that. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) along with Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wrote to Katherine Archuleta, the head of the Office of Personnel Management, requesting the agency implement new regulations that would allow federal employees to roll over as much as $500 in unused funds from year to year.

Monday - 12/30/2013, 01:06pm EST

Fight over military pension cuts to continue

Cuts to military pensions in doubt, but future changes to troop pay, benefits likely

Thursday - 12/26/2013, 12:14am EST

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
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