Recently I received the feedback from a reader of the Postal Worker Magazine and this blog. The readers comments are paraphrased below to protect the their identity and personal health information.
I found your March/April Postal Worker Magazine article to be unbalanced. Your article should have featured resources for your members that have dependents who will age out of FEHB coverage. Specifically information about COBRA and how the insulin dependent diabetics could have continued to have identical health coverage.
Thank you to everyone who reaches out to the APWU Health Plan Directors Blog. Input of any kind is always appreciated as that is how we stay so well connected to the membership, by allowing direct communication with the highest level of our management.
As far as the comments above, I stand by my article in the APWU Postal Worker magazine. The cost of injectable drugs has increased 15% per year from 2008-2016 making insulin and other lifesaving drugs unaffordable for the insured and uninsured alike.
I understand your point but unfortunately members of a FEHB insurance plan DO NOT have the ability to participate in COBRA benefits. The APWU Health Plan only insures Postal, Federal active employees and Retirees. Our members are not allowed to invoke COBRA benefits. However I appreciate your point and the opportunity to educate everyone on what the options are if one loses FEHB coverage due to aging out of the plan.
If you lose Federal Employee Health Benefit coverage because you no longer qualify as a family member you may be eligible for TCC (Temporary Continuation of Coverage.) Full details about TCC are available on the OPM website https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/temporary-continuation-of-coverage/#url=Pamphlet.
The employing office is not obligated to inform you of your child’s eligibility for TCC and conversion rights when he/she is no longer eligible for coverage. You must contact your Human Resources Office within 60 days of your child’s 26th birthday to inform them that your child is turning age 26 and that you are interested in enrolling them in TCC or a conversion plan.
According to OPM.gov children and former spouses can continue TCC for up to 36 months after the date of the qualifying event when the child was covered under regular FEHB enrollment. Also, OPM enrollees are responsible for the full costs of the TCC plan, this is the enrollee share, the government share and a 2% administration charge which makes these plans very expensive which is not helpful to working Americans. The guide that lists premiums is located on the OPM website http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/planinfo/guides/index.asp.
Information on enrolling in the Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) is available directly from OPM at Get the RI 79-27, which describes TCC, from your employing or retirement office or from www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/planinformation/ guides. It explains what you have to do to enroll.
Another option is a person losing FEHB coverage may elect to enroll in and ACA marketplace plan. More information about the marketplace is available at www.healthcare.gov , information about our conversion plan is at www.apwuhp.com , or on page 12 of our federal brochure https://www.apwuhp.com/our-plans/compare-plan-options/.