The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) recently sent comments opposing OPM’s proposed rule to remove members of Congress and their staff (employed by their official / personal office) by the federal government from the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).(The closing date for comments on the Federal Register notice was September 8, 2013). This applies to the Office of Personnel Management proposed rule amending the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) eligibility regulations to comply with the Affordable Care Act. According to NARFE:
“OPM published a proposed rule to implement the change that would allow for an employer contribution towards health benefits premiums in exchange plans that is of the same magnitude as that offered through FEHBP to other federal employees. At the same time, the proposed rule prevents employees retiring from federal service as a congressional staffers from receiving FEHBP in retirement.
We commented on the proposed rule for two reasons: (i) the rule affects the health benefits of federal employees and retirees, albeit limited to those in the legislative branch; and (ii) taking away FEHBP coverage (while working or in retirement) from members of Congress and their staff decouples the interests of a powerful interest group (members of Congress and their staff) from that of all other federal employees and retirees, which makes things easier for those who would propose removing employees and retirees from FEHBP, and a bit harder for us to oppose successfully such proposals.
read the 5-page NARFE letter regarding FEHBP (PDF)