OPM Reassures Federal Employees About FEHB Benefits Amidst Shutdown

OPM is assuring federal employees who made changes to their FEHB benefits that they will not be impacted by the partial government shutdown.

The Office of Personnel Management said is reminding federal employees who have questions about what happens to their benefits as the partial government shutdown continues to check the agency’s detailed guidance on shutdown furloughs.

OPM also said that federal employees do not need to worry about changes to their health insurance enrollments being processed:

Enrollments and enrollment changes made during the Federal Benefits Open Season will be processed for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), and the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS).

Operations under FEHB, FEDVIP and FSAFEDS will continue.

The shutdown furlough guidance document also contains additional details about benefits under FEHB. For instance, OPM provides some frequently asked questions as they relate to FEHB benefits and enrollment in conjunction with the partial shutdown:

Would a lapse in appropriations alter the effective date of an FEHB Open Season enrollment if an enrollment request was fully processed by an agency and submitted to the health plan prior to the lapse?

A. No. The effective date would still be the first day of the first full pay period in January.

What happens if an individual makes an FEHB Open Season enrollment change but the agency did not process the request before the furlough?

A. The individual should continue to use the old health plan until he or she returns to pay status and the enrollment in the new health plan is processed.

More information on pay, leave, retirement and other services and what impact a shutdown has on them (if any) can be found in OPM’s guidance.

Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.