Tuesday Tidbits

Today, the IRS published its final individual shared responsibility rules. The IRS fact sheet is here. Individual shared responsibility is the ACA’s terminology for the individual mandate.  From an FEHBP perspective, the significant parts of the rulemaking are its decisions that annuitants who decline FEHBP coverage and former enrollees and their dependents who decline FEHBP temporary continuation of coverage are eligible for subsidized coverage in the healthcare exchanges if their household income falls below 400% of the federal poverty line ($45,960 for an individual and $94,200 for a family of four this year).  In the FEHBlog’s opinion, it would be a huge mistake for an annuitant to decline FEHBP coverage (with the full government contribution) in favor of the exchange because there is no going back to the FEHBP under current OPM rules. However, it would make sense for a former enrollee or dependent to opt for subsidized exchange coverage over unsubsidized TCC.  The Journal of Accountancy provides a broader perspective on the rule here.

In a related development, OPM released a Benefits Administration Letter and Fast Facts on the individual shared mandate and the FEHBP today.

The Hill reports that Senate and House Republicans plan to submit bills that would require the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and all political appointees in the Administration to receive unsubsidized healthcare exchange coverage with no Government contribution, thereby partially overriding the recently proposed OPM rule. Official staff would receive the Government contribution for exchange coverage but Congressional offices would not be able to decide who is in their official staff as the OPM proposed rule permits. A copy of the press release from Senators Vitter (R La) and Enzi (R Wyo.) is here.

Finally, the FEHBlog noticed an interesting article on wellness programs in the Employee Benefit News.