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News > Law to change coverage for federal employees
Law to change coverage for federal employees

Posted 10/27/2010   Updated 10/27/2010 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Matthew Hubby
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

10/27/2010 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- The Affordable Care Act is changing certain aspects of the Federal Employee Health Benefit. Some provisions of the ACA will affect eligibility and benefits beginning Jan. 2. Open season for making changes to a member's insurance enrollment is Nov. 8 through Dec. 13. All changes become final Jan. 2.

One major change to coverage under the new law is an extension of dependant coverage, which now covers children up to 26 years old. Prior to this, in order for an adult child to be eligible for their parents' insurance, they had to be 22 years old or younger, a student and a full dependant.

According to the Office of Personnel Management the ACA has made the following changes to the coverage of children:
· Married children will now be covered.
· Children no longer need to live with the parent to be covered.
· Children no longer need to be dependent on their parent to be covered; they can use their parent's insurance coverage in lieu of a work offered plan.
· Children do not need to be students or have prior or current insurance coverage to be placed on their parent's self and family enrollment.

In order to get an adult child back under coverage this year after they have lost it, if their parent has FEHB self and family coverage, the parent must contact their plan representative for information on how to proceed.
According to the OPM, beginning in 2011, insurance carriers must offer smoking cessation programs without copayments or coinsurance and which are not subject to deductibles, annual or lifetime dollar limits. The programs must include at least two quit attempts per year with up to four smoking cessation counseling sessions of at least 30 minutes each, including proactive telephone counseling, group counseling and individual counseling.

In addition to the programs, insurance carriers should provide both over the counter (OTC) and prescribed medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat tobacco dependence for smoking cessation, without copayments or coinsurance and not subject to deductibles, annual or lifetime dollar limits. Plans should include over OTC drugs in their smoking cessation programs, and must follow FDA guidelines for all approved drugs.

"We really are trying to reach everybody," said Linda Fibelkorn, 436th Force Support Squadron human resources assistant. "We're trying to get people to compare rates between carriers, so they can get what they need, as some rates are seeing a high percentage increase in premiums."

Those enrolled in Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Option, for example, will see their premiums increase by 6.9 percent for self-only coverage, and by 7.6 percent for self and family coverage, said Mrs. Fibelkorn.

"Our goal is to educate people on their options," said Mrs. Fibelkorn. "We're doing an online only open season; we won't be holding a fair this year, so we're trying to get people informed about the big changes coming up, and what that'll mean for them."

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