Legislation was introduced in the House this week to give federal employees the option to purchase short-term disability insurance through a group plan.
The Federal Employee Short-Term Disability Insurance Act of 2018 (H.R. 4806) was introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). It would allow federal workers to purchase short-term disability insurance at their own expense to replace a portion of their lost income for up to one year in the event they have an injury, a disability or become pregnant. The bill also would require participating insurance companies to offer coverage regardless of any pre-existing conditions.
Norton is touting the bill as a way to help pay for maternity leave to offset the fact that federal employees do not have paid maternity leave offered by the federal government since pregnancy would be one of the triggers for the insurance to kick in.
She also said that many federal employees already purchase short-term disability insurance on their own, but buying it through a large group policy offered by the federal government would lower the cost by obtaining a group rate. Federal employees would be responsible for 100% of the cost of premiums under the terms of the bill.