Reg Jones Expert's View

OPM recently amended the Federal Employee Health Benefits program regulations to allow family members to be removed from existing self plus one or self and family enrollments.

Why would anyone want to do that? Most commonly, it would be because the spouse or adult child wants to enroll in health insurance sponsored by their own employer.

In guidance issued to agencies, OPM identified the limited situations to which this applies:

Spouse – A spouse may be removed if the enrollee provides a notarized request for removal, signed by both the enrollee and the spouse, to the enrollee’s agency.

Adult child – A child who has reached the age of majority in the child’s state of residence (the enrollee’s state of residence if the child’s is not known) can be removed in one of two situations:

1) The enrollee provides proof that the child is no longer his or her dependent. The child can be removed without the child’s consent.

2) The child requests to be removed and provides a notarized request for removal.

More on FEHB – Federal Employee Health Benefits at ask.FEDweek.com

OPM went on to clarify what the “age of majority” means. It is the age when according to state law, as child becomes an adult. In most states that age is 18. To find the state age laws, go to http://statelaws.findlaw.com/family-laws/legal-ages.html. According to OPM, “the age listed in statute for each state is all that needs to be determined unless the parent provides an emancipation court order.”

OPM goes on to say, “Minor children can only be removed from an enrollment by court order. A Federal employee who is the adult child or spouse of another Federal employee can be removed from an enrollment. However, this removal is not a qualifying life event that would allow the adult child or spouse to enroll in his or her own FEHB enrollment, unless the adult child has a spouse and/or child(ren) to cover.”

While FEHB enrollees can choose to remove a family member, they don’t have to do that just because he or she has other coverage. A family member with other health insurance coverage who is also covered under an FEHB self plus one or self and family enrollment can still carry both coverages and doesn’t need to be removed from the FEHB enrollment. That’s because FEHB program coverage can be coordinated with other non-FEHB coverage.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, this amended regulation only applies in limited situations. Whether it’s something that will benefit you is something you’ll have to determine. OPM will soon be issuing guidance to agencies that may help them to help you make a decision.

See also, Open Season: FEHB Rates Announcement Coming