Several Congressmen sent a letter to acting OPM director Beth Cobert asking that the deadline for enrolling in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) be extended so enrollees have more time to weigh their options in light of the steep premium increases they are facing.
The letter was sent by Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA) and Chris Van Hollen (-MD), all of whom have a large number of constituents who work for the federal government.
“Since this announcement was first made in July, we have not received acceptable answers for why changes in actuarial projections occurred so suddenly as to justify this dramatic premium hike, why the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) failed to provide advance notice of the impact of these projections to enrollees, and how OPM plans to improve oversight of the program to prevent sudden hikes in the future,” the Congressmen stated in the letter.
The letter continued:
As the enrollment deadline rapidly approaches, we have heard from many of our constituents who are angry, worried, and struggling to identify the best of several difficult options that are available to them. Given the lack of notice and short enrollment period, we believe it is appropriate to extend the deadline to allow our constituents more time to make a decision. Moreover, given that they face this decision through no fault of their own, they must be held harmless from any further rate increases during this process.
A full copy of the letter is included below.
Connolly and Beyer were among the first of a series of lawmakers to express their concerns and frustration about the steep hikes in insurance premiums when they were first announced this summer.
They sent a letter in July to Cobert asking why there was such a steep premium hike and what her agency was doing to help impacted federal employees.
After Beyer and Connolly sent their letter, other lawmakers jumped on board to express their concerns including Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform also sent a letter to John Hancock Financial Services, the company that administers the FLTCIP program, seeking more information about the premium increases.
Despite the complaining by lawmakers, it appears that federal employees are probably going to be stuck with the higher premiums. According to the Washington Post, OPM rejected the notion of extending the enrollment deadline, stating, “Any additional delay of the increase would result in enrollees ultimately paying a greater premium rate, since the increase would need to take into account and correct for any additional period of time with inadequate premiums.”