Will the House’s health care bill change your Federal Employees Health Benefits Program? It depends who you ask on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees the FEHBP.
Sixteen committee Republicans sent a letter to Chairman Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., on Nov. 4, calling on him to schedule immediate hearings to analyze the impact H.R. 3692 may have on the FEHBP. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Nov. 5 she has the votes to pass the health care bill on Nov. 7.
In the letter, Republicans said they need clarification on what the bill could do to participants in the FEHBP.
We believe the legislation in its current form may have a significant impact on FEHBP, including the possibility that FEHBP may not be deemed a ‘qualified health benefits plan’ for purposes of the bill, which will have the effect of either forcing federal employees out of their current coverage and into the ‘public option,’ or subjecting them to a tax for failure to obtain ‘acceptable health coverage.”
The Republicans are just trying to stall the health care bill with “baseless concerns,” Towns replied in a Nov. 4 news release.
Any suggestion that federal employees may be forced out of insurance coverage and subjected to an additional tax is false and has no basis in the text of the bill. Under H.R. 3962, federal employees will remain in their current system, and will also benefit from the same improvements to health insurance plans that all other Americans will enjoy, such as ending copayments for preventative medicine and automatic enrollment. Insurance providers participating in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) will be subject to the same rules and regulations covering all other health insurance plans.”