Fedweek

A postal reform bill cleared by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee would, if enacted, have wide-ranging impacts on key federal benefits programs. The bill would allow USPS to bargain over a retirement program to replace FERS for employees hired after the enactment date, including on issues such as the required employee contribution toward retirement, the benefits formula, and the level of USPS contributions into the Thrift Savings Plan for them, if any. It also would create a Postal Service Health Benefits Program as a subset of the FEHB, with postal employees and retirees required to enroll in it with limited exceptions, and to be placed in a separate risk and premium pool. Any FEHB plan with more than 5,000 enrollees would have to participate and provide benefits that are “equivalent” to what they offer under FEHB, although not exact. In addition, postal retirees who are eligible for Medicare would have to enroll in that, including its Part D prescription drug program—with the goal of moving some costs out of the postal risk and premium pool.