Browsing: health care

Report: White House to extend health care to firefighters

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The Denver Post today reported that the White House has decided to allow seasonal federal firefighters to purchase the same health insurance as other federal employees, almost a month after one firefighter’s online petition for benefits went viral. Most federal employees get health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. But more than 8,000 seasonal federal firefighters aren’t eligible for FEHBP because they usually work less than six months each year. U.S. Forest Service firefighter John Lauer started an online petition in late May after his friend and fellow firefighter’s son was born prematurely. Because Lauer’s friend had no…

Firefighter's petition for health benefits goes viral

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An online petition to extend federal health care benefits to seasonal wildland firefighters is spreading like … well … wildfire. John Lauer, a temporary firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, and thousands of his colleagues aren’t eligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan because they only work for the government six months out of each year. But those six months are extremely busy — Lauer and other firefighters usually work 16-hour shifts each day — and dangerous. And when medical misfortune strikes a firefighter’s family, it can be devastating. Lauer said his godson Rudy — the son of a…

Health care reform, explained in one handy cartoon

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Confused about the health care reform bill? You’re not alone. According to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health care policy research organization, 53 percent of Americans say they still don’t know what the health care bill means. And confusion is growing — that number is 8 percentage points higher than in August. Considering the complexity of the matter, rabid politicking, and the spin thrown around over the last year or so (death panels, anyone?), it’s not surprising so many Americans are in the dark. But Kaiser has recently released a video that hopes to…

Health care reform, FEHBP and you

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The Office of Personnel Management this afternoon released the latest Benefits Administration Letter detailing how health care reform is going to affect federal employees. One of the bigger changes affecting Federal Employees Health Benefits Program enrollees is the extension of coverage for adult children of feds. Currently, only unmarried dependent children younger than 22 are eligible for coverage. But the health care changes will expand coverage to adult children up to age 26, as well as removing residency and dependency requirements for coverage. And there’s a few other firsts for adult children (younger than 26, of course): Married adult children of feds…

Kaiser: Employees' share of health care costs rising

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The Kaiser Family Foundation today released a sobering report about the state of health care costs in America. Employees are paying on average $4,000 per year for their share of family health care coverage this year. That’s 14 percent, or $482, more than they paid last year. That far outpaces the overall 3 percent increase in family health premiums, meaning families are increasingly shouldering the burden of health care costs. Overall, average annual family health care premium costs have increased by 114 percent since 2000, from $6,438 to $13,770. But over that time, workers’ shares have increased by 147 percent,…

FEHBP open season dates announced

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The Office of Personnel Management just released a letter that said this year’s open season for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program will run from Monday, Nov. 8 through Monday, Dec. 13. Federal employees will be able to select their health, dental and vision insurance plans and enroll in a Flexible Spending Account between those dates. Anyone already enrolled in a health, dental or vision plan will stay enrolled in their current plan unless they choose to change or cancel it. But Flexible Spending Accounts don’t carry over from one year to another — enrollees must set up an account…

Health care reform: What do you think?

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Federal Times would like to hear from federal employees who might be affected by the health care reform bill passed last week. Do you have an adult child who can get health coverage as a result of the bill? Are you concerned about the excise tax or how it might affect your premiums? Are you worried that putting the Office of Personnel Management in charge of insurance exchanges could take its attention away from its traditional missions? Send us an e-mail at slosey@federaltimes.com.

Biden opens mouth, inserts foot

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Just leave it to Joe Biden to find a way to embarrass himself in his administration’s moment of triumph. (FYI, the following video contains a half-mumbled profanity, in case your co-workers are sensitive to that kind of thing.) There’s only one proper way to respond to that:

WaPo: White House, unions strike deal on 'Cadillac' health plan tax

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The Washington Post is reporting that the White House and unions have reached a tentative deal on the excise tax on so-called “Cadillac” health care plans: Lawmakers said the agreement would raise the cost of unusually generous health policies and ignore secondary coverage, such as vision and dental plans. Health plans negotiated as part of collective-bargaining agreements would be exempt for two years after the 2013 effective date, giving labor leaders time to negotiate new contracts.

OPM in charge of health insurance for the uninsured?

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As you may have heard by now, many senators are proposing to back off of creating a government-run health care plan to cover uninsured Americans and instead want to task the Office of Personnel Management with running a smorgasbord of private health insurance plans that would serve Americans needing coverage. Senators appear to be modeling the idea after the existing Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the health insurance program that serves about 8 million federal employees, retirees and their families. Do you think that’s a good idea? Is OPM up to the challenge? Do you think such a plan…

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