Mid-week update

My how time flies! Today begins the Medicare open enrollment period. The FEHB Open Season begins on November 10, and the ACA health insurance marketplace open enrollment period begins on November 15..

In preparation for the FEHB Open Season, OPM has finalized its rule that brings the federal government into compliance with the ACA’s employer shared responsibility mandate by extending coverage to temporary, seasonal, and intermittent employees who work on average at least 130 hours per month over at least 90 days. Because the early bird usually does catch the worm, OPM exempted the Postal Service from this rule. The Postal Service began a health benefit program for its part time employees at the beginning of this year. OPM also created an easy opt out process for Indian tribal employers. LifeHealthPro reviews civilian agency comments on the rule here.

Since the Supreme Court decided on October 6 not to review several lower court decisions finding a constitution right to same sex marriage, nine States have started to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples joining 21 other States and the District of Columbia. More States are sure to follow.  The interesting twist here is that beginning this year OPM has allowed federal employees to add the children of their same sex domestic partners to their self and family coverage if the employee lives in a State that does not license same sex marriages. If during the course of the year but before the first day of the Open Season, here November 10, the State of residence begins to license same sex marriages, then the domestic partner’s children lose coverage at the end of the year unless the employee and domestic partner marry.

The FEHBlog has no idea how many domestic partner children have been added to self and family coverage in the fourteen States that have begun to license same sex marriage just this year.One of the States that just began to license same sex marriages is Virginia. There are a lot of federal employees who live in Virginia. But same sex couples residing in these 14 States may be in for a rude awakening on January 1 when the domestic partner’s children are no longer covered under the FEHB plan because they decided on a Spring 2015 wedding, for example. No good deed goes unpunished as they say.

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