By Reg Jones
March 30th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. I heard on television that, under the Affordable Care Act, children can stay on your medical plan until age 26, but spouses are not considered dependents. My wife is a few years younger than me and, when I retire next year, will she still be covered under Federal Employees Health Benefits?
Q. I am a Postal Service employee with self-only heath insurance coverage. My 24-year-old daughter has had no health insurance during the past six months after she changed jobs. She is now enrolled full time in college (her school does not offer health insurance). Now that the open season is over, can I still add her if I am agreeing to pay a “family” premium? Can the new Obama law that allows adding dependents ( up to 26 years of age) be applied even though the open season is over?
A. Unfortunately, no.
March 30th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. My father remarried when I was 15. I was his only child. When he was 51 and I was 24, he was diagnosed with cancer. While he was in the hospital undergoing colon surgery, I was informed that he was changing his beneficiary status to his new wife. I received a small portion compared to the half that was originally on the form. I received a pension check for half of his pension one time after his death, and then his widow started to receive the entire amount. Besides the hurt this caused me, she remarried within a year and gave up his pension. Is that it?
I am, of course, an adult child of this man, but I was his only child. I am not sure what was said or why he decided to change his beneficiary designations while facing terminal cancer, but he did. Am I not entitled to any of this pension that he gave 30 years of government service to? I have been single and struggling with mental and emotional issues for many years and certainly could have used my dad’s pension. What are my options, if any?
A. It’s important to understand that if you had continued to be listed on your father’s designation of beneficiary, you would have only been entitled to the proceeds of his Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (if any) and a refund of his retirement contributions. When your father died, the only other benefit for which you would have been eligible would have been a children’s survivor annuity, and then only if you were an unmarried dependent under age 18. With one exception, that modest benefit, worth only a few hundred dollars a month, would have ended when you reached age 18 (22 if you were a full-time student). The exception would be if you had been determined to be disabled and incapable of self-support before age 18 and weren’t married.
If your father was still an employee of the federal government when he remarried, he was required by law to provide a full survivor annuity for his new wife. If he remarried after he retired, he would have had the option of providing a survivor annuity for his new spouse.
January 25th, 2011 | Uncategorized
Q: I know that the FEHB rules changed regarding coverage of dependents up to the age of 26, but what about the FEDVIP rules (vision and dental)?
A: As specified in law, the change in age applied only to the Federal Employees Health Benefits program.
April 27th, 2010 | Uncategorized
Q: We are on the federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan, and our son will turn 22 evidently before the extension comes into effect. I understand that he gets a month of courtesy coverage, which would expire on Dec. 22. So, what do we do for the additional nine or 10 days to keep him covered?
A: He will be offered an opportunity to continue his coverage under the Temporary Continuation of Coverage provision in the current law. The cost of that coverage would be 100 percent of the monthly premium, plus an additional 2 percent for administrative costs. Note: The Office of Personnel Management is working with Congress to amend the law to allow dependents such as your son to be covered sooner than Jan. 1, 2011. If that happens, you won’t have a problem.
November 10th, 2009 | Uncategorized
Q: My son has recently been dropped from my health care because he reached the age of 22. I have heard that there might be an extension of health benefits for dependents. Has there been any decision on this? Also, are there any provisions of adding dependents after the open health benefits period, which is approaching.
A: Extending the age at which dependents may be covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits program would require a change in the law. Although such a change was proposed by the previous Office of Personnel Management director, Congress has so far has taken no action. At present, dependents can only be added after the close of an open season if a specific event occurs, such as when the enrollee marries, has a new child born of the marriage or adopts a child.
— Reg Jones