Weekend update

The FEHBlog hopes that all of his readers enjoyed the Thanksgiving Holiday. Congress is back from its holiday break tomorrow. Federal News Radio discusses bills for federal employees to watch this coming week and The Hill reports on five health care issues that will receive Congressional attention before the Christmas holidays break.  None of bills / issues directly affect the FEHBP.

The Federal Benefits Open Season ends on December 11, which is 15 days away.

Health Payer Intelligence offers its views on how health plans can help high deductible plan enrollees  get the best value out of their coverage. High deductible plan enrollees can contribute to a health saving account that they own as long as they don’t have other health benefits coverage, such as Medicare.  A few years ago a group of federal annuitants demanded in federal court that they be allowed to waive Medicare Part A coverage in order to continue contribute into their health savings accounts.  The federal courts rejected their lawsuit.

The FEHBlog who is under age 65 is enrolled an ERISA governed high deductible plan with a health savings account. The FEHBlog’s birthday is in December which means that he will lose the ability to contribute to his HSA on the first day of December in which he turns 65. If he were enrolled in an FEHB plan he would be entitled to an individual Open Season under 5 CFR Section 890.301(k) at that time:

(k) On becoming eligible for Medicare. An employee may change the enrollment from one plan or option to another at any time beginning on the 30th day before becoming eligible for coverage under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (Medicare). A change of enrollment based on becoming eligible for Medicare may be made only once.

It probably doesn’t make sense to change plans for one month, but it’s the enrollee’s call. Nationwide FEHBP plans that offer a high deductible plan with a health savings account option typically include a health reimbursement account offering for annuitants who can’t contribute to a health savings account.