Federal Workforce subcommittee hearing on Tuesday

According to the Subcommittee’s website,

The Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia will hold two hearings, under the title, “Catching Up: Benefits That Will Help Recruit and Retain Federal Employees,” on Tuesday, April 29, 2008, at 2:00 p.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Panel one will discuss improvements to the Federal Employee Thrift Savings Plan (automatic enrollment and default to the Life Cycle Fund) and the second panel will examine providing health insurance to young adults enrolled as dependents in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Immediately following the hearing, the Subcommittee will markup [among other bills]: H.R. 5550, a bill “To amend title 5, U.S.C, to increase the maximum age to qualify for coverage as a ’child’ under the health benefits program for Federal Employees.” Chairman Davis may offer an amendment to H.R. 5550, which he introduced on March 6, 2008.

The FEHB Act (§ 8901) currently defines an eligible family member as

(5) “member of family” means the spouse of an employee or annuitant and an unmarried dependent child under 22 years of age,
(A) an adopted child or recognized natural child; and
(B) a stepchild or foster child but only if the child lives with the employee or annuitant in a regular parent-child relationship;

or such an unmarried dependent child regardless of age who is incapable of self-support because of mental or physical disability which existed before age 22;

Chairman Davis’s bill would increase the age ceiling from 22 to 25. Adult children in that age group currently are eligible for FEHB coverage on a self-pay basis under the Temporary Continuation of Coverage law, which in my opinion is a pretty good deal. Of course, if the Chairman’s bill were to be adopted the TCC would be available for three years beginning at age 25. However, even under the Chairman’s bill, adult children would continue to be cut off from FEHB coverage as soon as they marry. Perhaps the Chairman’s amendment would modify this restriction.