The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a proposed rule today that would deem services under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) and the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program as essential during any future lapse in appropriations during a government shutdown.
Below are highlights of the proposal published in the Federal Register:
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing a proposed rule to ensure the continuation of certain benefits and services that could be impacted by a lapse in appropriations.
First, the proposed rule implements Section 1110 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20 NDAA) which designates certain Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program and Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) services as emergency services under the Antideficiency Act. These services are deemed as services for emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property. The law also provides that employees furloughed as a result of a lapse in appropriations shall, during such lapse, be deemed to be in pay status, for purposes of enrolling or changing enrollment in the FEHB Program.
Secondly, the proposed rule implements a section of law which authorizes continuation of coverage under the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) for enrollees who are furloughed or excepted from furlough and working without pay due to a lapse in appropriations, and provides that coverage may not be cancelled as a result of nonpayment of premiums or other periodic charges due to such a lapse.
The proposed rule also clarifies that upon the end of a lapse in appropriations, FEDVIP and FLTCIP premiums will be paid from back pay or may be paid back from another source for FLTCIP enrollees who elected to make payments directly to the Carrier.
The full text of the proposal can be read here. OPM is accepting comments on the proposed rule through August 19, 2020.