Reg Jones Expert's View

OPM is proposing to expand eligibility to enroll in the FEHB program to temporary, seasonal, and intermittent employees who are identified as full-time employees. The proposed regulation would be effective in the 2105 plan (calendar) year.

According to OPM, “most employees on temporary appointments become eligible for FEHB coverage after completing one year of current continuous employment and, once eligible for coverage, do not receive an employer contribution to premium. Employees working on seasonal schedules for less than six months in a year and those working intermittent schedules are excluded from eligibility regardless of the work hours for which they are expected to be scheduled…

“This proposed rule would allow newly eligible employees (employees on an appointment limited to one year and employees working on a seasonal or intermittent schedule) to initially enroll under the FEHB program with a Government contribution to premium if they are expected to be employed on a full-time schedule and are expected to work for at least 90 days.”

Before coming up with this rule change, OPM worked with federal agencies to determine how many of their full-time employees don’t have access to FEHB coverage. Not surprisingly, the numbers varied from agency to agency and month to month. Nevertheless, OPM’s data indicated that there are 300,000 full-time employees who are ineligible for FEHB coverage under current rules.

In summary, the proposed rule change is intended to ensure that full-time employees in these special categories are able to enroll in the FEHB program. What remains to be discovered is how that coverage will be handled when these employees aren’t working. For example, will they be required to pay the full premiums for that coverage?