OPM has proposed rules allowing removal of eligible family members from FEHB coverage in certain circumstances, a change it says many enrollees have requested in light of the expansion of eligibility for children in 2011. Since then, children have been eligible up to age 26, rather than 22 under the prior policy, and there is no longer a requirement that the child be unmarried, dependent and live with the parent. That has resulted in a number of adult children remaining on their parents’ coverage when they could get health insurance elsewhere, but there is currently no policy allowing voluntary removal of an eligible family member under a self plus one or self and family enrollment, the notice says. For example adult children might otherwise be eligible for their own employer’s high deductible health plan with a health savings account but cannot take advantage of it because IRS rules do not allow such enrollments for those covered under another health plan. There also could be circumstances in which a covered spouse would want to be removed from an FEHB enrollment to use other available coverage, OPM added. The enrollees also could benefit by reducing levels of coverage after family members are removed, it added, for example switching from family to self plus one or self-only, or from self plus one to self-only. (However, that could be done only during an open season, or upon experiencing certain life events, for those paying premiums with pre-tax money, as most actively employed FEHB enrollees do.) OPM meanwhile proposed separate rules for removing from coverage family members who OPM or the carrier determines to be ineligible.
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