The House version of the measure contains various other assumptions and “illustrative policy options” such as targeting the special retirement supplement, which is paid to FERS employees who retire before age 62 and that duplicates the Social Security benefits they earned while under FERS until that age, when they can begin drawing Social Security. The measure similarly provides little detail on that idea, but the 2012 bill, again based on a similar assumption, would have eliminated the benefit for most of those retiring in the following year and later. The exception was that those subject to earlier mandatory retirement—mostly law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic controllers–still would have been eligible for it. Another assumption in the House plan, linking future growth in the government share of FEHB premiums to general inflation rather than to the typically higher actual growth in premiums, is a variant of the “voucher” proposal that has been raised many times in the past. The CBO has projected that an artificial cap on the government share would increase costs to enrollees—although by how much would depend on a host of factors, including whether enrollees switched to less expensive plans in response. Another idea mentioned in the House plan, to limit employer contributions toward FEHB for retirees who have relatively short working careers, also dates back a number of years although it hadn’t surfaced more recently. CBO reports from that time said, for example, that the government contribution toward premiums could be cut by 2 percentage points for each year of service under 20 for new retirees.
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