|Targeted News Service|
Its recommendations came in comments from NTEU to the
NTEU represents a large number of seasonal employees at the
"NTEU urges OPM to ensure that the regulations state that health insurance coverage for these employees is effective as of the first day of employment, as is currently done for other employees," the union said in its submission.
Under the OPM proposal released earlier this year, employees on temporary appointments, seasonal employees who work less than six months a year and intermittent employees all would be eligible to enroll in FEHBP and receive a government contribution for their health insurance premiums--provided they work certain schedules.
"This is a welcome step for important groups of federal employees that have been excluded from the FEHBP," said NTEU President
The comments also stressed the importance of including in final regulations requirements that agencies effectively communicate the new FEHBP eligibility categories to workers. They also urged meaningful oversight of agencies' use of temporary, seasonal and intermittent appointments and work schedules to ensure the government is properly meeting its employer obligations regarding health care coverage.
Under the new rules, eligible employees would have to work a full-time schedule of 130 hours or more in a calendar month and be expected to work for at least 90 days. NTEU urged OPM to provide an effective date of coverage as of the 91st day of employment for those who initially were expected to work less than 90 days, but whose schedules were changed and expanded.
The proposed regulations also provide that once an employee is enrolled in FEHBP, her or his eligibility would not be revoked regardless of their actual work schedule or their agency's expectations for work schedules in subsequent years.
Further, the draft rules would eliminate the requirement that newly-hired temporary employees have to complete one year of continuous service to be eligible to enroll in FEHBP; and present temporary, seasonal and intermittent employees who meet the criteria would be provided with a 60-day open enrollment period that would begin when their agency notifies the employee of their eligibility.
With the comment period on the draft rules closing today, NTEU is seeking swift action from OPM to make the expansion final.
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