The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing a final rule to modify eligibility for enrollment under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program to certain temporary, seasonal, and intermittent employees who are identified as full-time employees. This final rule follows a notice of proposed rulemaking published July 29, 2014. This regulation will allow newly eligible Federal employees to enroll no later than January 2015.
This final rule modifies eligibility by authorizing enrollment in a FEHB health plan for certain non-Postal Federal employees on temporary appointments and certain non-Postal employees working on seasonal and intermittent schedules. Currently, most employees on temporary appointments become eligible for FEHB coverage after completing 1 year of current continuous employment and, once eligible for coverage, do not receive an employer contribution to premium. Employees working on seasonal schedules for less than 6 months in a year and those working intermittent schedules are excluded from eligibility regardless of the work hours for which they are expected to be scheduled. Some limited exceptions were made to these exclusions for temporary firefighters and emergency response workers in 5 CFR 890.102(h) and (i).
Under this final regulation, non-Postal employees on temporary appointments, non-Postal employees on seasonal schedules who will be working less than six months per year, and non-Postal employees working intermittent schedules will be eligible to enroll in a FEHB health plan if the employee is expected to work a full-time schedule of 130 or more hours in a calendar month. If the employing office expects the employee to work at least 90 days, the employee is eligible to enroll upon notification of the employee’s eligibility by the employing office. If the employing office expects the employee to work fewer than 90 days, that individual is considered to be in a 90 day waiting period and is generally ineligible to enroll (because the individual will not be employed at the end of the waiting period). If the expectation changes to at least 90 days, the employee will be eligible to enroll upon notification from the employing office, but no later than the 91st day of employment. Temporary, seasonal, and intermittent employees who are expected to work a schedule of less than 130 hours in a calendar month will not be eligible to enroll in a FEHB health plan. Temporary, seasonal, and intermittent employees for whom the expectation of hours of employment changes from less than 130 hours per calendar month to 130 hours or more per calendar month would become eligible to enroll in an FEHB health plan upon notification from the employing office.
“OPM received several comments suggesting changes to how this modification would affect non-career United States Postal Service (USPS) employees. OPM understands that the USPS currently offers affordable employer provided health benefits coverage, separate and apart from FEHB for a majority of its full-time non-career employees, and is working toward implementing this coverage for the rest of these employees. OPM further understands that the category of USPS employees referred to as full-time non-career employees generally corresponds to the category of employees affected by the modification of FEHB eligibility under this final rule. Because the terms and conditions of employment for the class of employees that is affected by this rule already includes, or is anticipated to soon include, an offer of affordable employer provided health benefits coverage, OPM has exempted USPS employees from this final rule.”
Read More: Federal Register | Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Modification of Eligibility to Certain Employees on Temporary Appointments and Certain Employees on Seasonal and Intermittent Schedules.