CBO Weighs in on the Ensuring FEHBP Coverage During Shutdowns Act

The CBO has offered a cost analysis of a bill designed to protect federal employees’ health insurance benefits during government shutdowns.

The Congressional Budget Office recently issued a report in which it weighed in on the cost to the government of enacting the Ensuring FEHB Coverage During Shutdowns Act (H.R. 2003).

Bottom line: CBO said this wouldn’t have any impact on the federal budget. According to its report:

H.R. 2003, the Ensuring FEHBP Coverage During Shutdowns Act, would designate the officers and employees of the Office of Personnel Management who process Federal Employee Health Benefits enrollments and enrollment changes as emergency personnel. This change would mean that those officers and employees would be required to work during a lapse in appropriation (often called a government shutdown). Under current law, those officers and employees might not be required to work during a government shutdown, but they would be paid for the period of the shutdown when an appropriation is enacted. Therefore, enacting H.R. 2003 would have no effect on either direct or discretionary spending in the federal budget.

About the Ensuring FEHB Coverage During Shutdowns Act

The bill was introduced by Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD). It would ensure that employees who experience a qualifying life event—such as the birth or adoption of a child—could immediately enroll their dependents into a Federal Employee Health Benefits Program plan even if the government is shut down. For additional details, see Bills Introduced to Safeguard Insurance Benefits During Shutdowns.

About the Author

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.