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Health-care relief for the children of feds?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! Lawmakers have introduced a measure that would allow the Office of Personnel Management to extend health-care coverage to the adult children of federal workers before the new federal health-care law takes effect next year.

Several health insurance companies plan to extend coverage to adult children up to age 26 starting in June, but current federal law prohibits OPM from doing the same for workers in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The bill — cosponsored by Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) — was introduced amid a push by federal workers unions.

“OPM needs the authority to implement this very important provision sooner and this legislation is designed to do just that,” Van Hollen said in a statement.

Margaret L. Baptiste, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association said the coverage “would be particularly helpful to dependent children about to graduate from trade school, college or university who could have difficulty finding employment with health benefits in the present unfavorable job market.”

It's unclear how quickly the bill might move through the House, whether it has Senate support and how much it might cost taxpayers. If it does not pass by June, federal workers with adult children can apply for a temporary continuation of coverage or convert them to an individual policy, according to OPM.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Question of the Week: What can the federal government do to improve the image of federal workers and eliminate some of the stereotypes that dog the workforce? E-mail your answers to federaleye@washingtonpost.com and include your full name, home town and your employer. We may use your answers in Friday's Washington Post.

Cabinet and Staff News: This week's events provide President Obama with challenges to his message and management. The White House Correspondents dinner wasn't a big @#$!-ing deal for Vice President Biden. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and others celebrate the capture of the would-be Times Square bomber. Obama interviews Diane Wood ahead of a SCOTUS decision.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Japanese premier, in Okinawa, says at least part of U.S. base will remain there: A dispute over the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma has become the focal point of U.S.-Japan ties since Yukio Hatoyama took office last September

EPA:
EPA’s plan to regulate coal ash draws criticism: The agency deferred a decision on whether to treat it as hazardous waste, drawing criticism from environmentalists who had hoped for a stronger stance.

New EPA water infrastructure policy seeks to encourage smart growth: A policy released late last month by the agency instructs states to adopt smart-growth principles in allocating the $3.3 billion in water infrastructure funding that the federal government doles out each year.

FDA;
FDA: Plant that made Tylenol and other pediatric medicine lacked quality control: The plant apparently used raw materials contaminated with bacteria and failed to investigate consumer complaints that some medicines contained black particles.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Federal employees' work-life balance is still on shaky ground: When it comes to helping federal employees develop a good balance between work and personal lives, Uncle Sam talks a good game, but his actions fall short.

Working for an 'improved picture' of public servants: A Q&A with Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, about Public Service Recognition Week, President Obama's recent defense of government and why it's still hard to get a job with the government:

HOMELAND SECURITY:
Times Square suspect's movements raise questions about holes in antiterror system: Senior administration officials cited two instances in which the system could have worked more effectively, both of them after the bomb was found.

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT:
U.S. exempted BP's Gulf of Mexico drilling from environmental impact study: The Interior Department exempted BP's calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year.

MSHA:
MSHA establishes another mine blast team: The agency said Tuesday that a new investigative team will focus on anonymous whistle-blower tips and concerns expressed by mine workers and the families of victims of the April 5 West Virginia mine blast.

NTSB:
In wake of Hudson landing, safety board says aircraft need better equipment: By urging the most far-reaching changes in accident-survival equipment and procedures in 25 years, the agency cast doubt on the effectiveness of current systems intended to evacuate airline passengers.

SEC:
SEC investigates firms doing business in terror hubs: The agency's enforcement division has sent letters to several companies in the pharmaceutical and energy industries.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | May 5, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Health Care, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

If somebody has a 26-year-old child still living with them and expects health insurance coverage, you've got bigger problems than health insurance. Give me a break -- Junior or Princess still living at home after graduating from college? Can't get a job? Freeloading (still) off of mommy and daddy? Cut the umbilical cord and kick them out.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | May 5, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Disgusting.

age 26?
no way

Posted by: newagent99 | May 5, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I will admit that I have very little knowledge of what is in the health bill and when various parts of it kick in- I suspect that I am no worse off on the general information base than most if noyif nthis benefit is not available to not all those who voted for the bill-
however here is my question- if non federal employees cannot yet benefit from this family extension to age 26 what is it about federal employees that we should extend the benefit to them?

Posted by: 27anon72 | May 5, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

First, read the story "Several health insurance companies plan to extend coverage to adult children up to age 26 starting in June, but current federal law prohibits OPM from doing the same for workers in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program"

The current law doesn't say insurance companies HAVE to insure adult children this year but many are OPTING to do so. The law doesn't allow the federal plans to OPT to do so this year. The change will allow the federal plans to do something currently being done by private plans. It's equalling the playing field.

As for "Junior or Princess" living at home, that's not always the case. Sometimes, the graduate is working and living on their own but their job doesn't provide health care. The current law says these working adults can remain on their parent's plan.

Posted by: r6345 | May 5, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Baltimore11:

Princess or Prince is probably still in graduate school, trying to save money as they have none. If they are working, it's probably not full-time, and probably does not provide health insurance.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, it's kind of a crappy job market out there. A lot of my friends - graduated two years ago - are still living at home because they can't find gainful employment.

Posted by: brocrow2000 | May 5, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Clearly none of you has experience as a parent of a child with a chronic illness or disability. Type 1 diabetes, epilepsy, and a host of other conditions frequently strike young adults around the age when they're no longer eligible on their parents' policies, need medical care, and can't get it or get substandard care because suddenly these kids are uninsurable. The purpose of this provision is to help these children get the care they need.

Posted by: jody43jody | May 5, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

If it is good for the Feds children now then it should be good for all now but of course I dont see the Obamacare passing the litmus tests by 2014 If we are all lucky it will be gone before the bad stuff they dont want to talk about kicks in Repeal Obamacare and Kick out Obama.

Posted by: Jemmottp | May 12, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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