HEALTH INSURANCE

You have 60 days from your entry on duty date to sign up for a health insurance plan. If you don't make an election, you are considered to have declined coverage, and you must wait until the next open season to enroll.

VERY IMPORTANT: Enrollment is not retroactive, and it cannot be made effective the day you enter on duty, as you must have been in a pay status during some part of the pay period which precedes the one in which your enrollment becomes effective. Once this requirement has been met, your enrollment will become effective on the first day of the first pay period that begins after your employing office receives your enrollment request. Thus, the earliest that your health insurance can possibly become effective is the beginning of the pay period that begins after the pay period in which you were hired. You cannot be reimbursed for any medical expenses incurred prior to the effective date. You need to consider this in cancelling any other health insurance coverage you may already have, and for scheduling doctor's visits and tests.

The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) is one of the most valuable benefits of federal employment, but coverage is not automatic--- you must select one of the more than 100 available health plans in order to be covered.

Although you have 60 days to make your election, it is to your advantage to make this election soon in order to be covered in case of accident or illness. There is no retroactive coverage of your expenses prior to the effective date of your coverage. The policy will begin coverage on the effective date, however, and will cover expenses occurring on or after that date, even for conditions occurring before that date.


Further information on the FEHB program:

Premium Conversion is a pre-tax arrangement under which the part of your salary that goes for health insurance premiums will be non-taxable. This means that you save on federal income tax and FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare). In most cases, you'll also save on state and local income taxes. The OPM (Office of Personnel Management) payroll will sign you up for Premium Conversion automatically; you don't need to fill out a form. You do have a choice, though, to waive Premium Conversion, despite the savings.

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