Federal Employee News - special enrollment period for medicare b - image: happy retiree checking mailbox

News round-up for federal employees: special enrollment period for USPS retirees, a look at fertility benefits for federal employees, and OPM passes rule to protect Feds from “Schedule F”

Some recent news related to federal employee retirement benefits. First, we’ll review the special enrollment period for Medicare B for USPS annuitants. Also – fertility benefits for federal employees and OPM passes rule this month that would provide the federal workforce with protections against legislation like “Schedule F,” which was enacted in late 2020 via an executive order.

USPS Medicare B Special Enrollment Period

Individuals who retired from the US Postal Service and retained an FEHB plan but did not enroll in Medicare B when turning 65 should have received a letter in March with information about the special enrollment period (SEP) for Medicare B.

The SEP began on the first of April and will end on the 30th of September. Current USPS retirees who received the notice are not required to enroll in Medicare B. However, if they decide to do so, they will have to maintain their Medicare B enrollment to keep their USPS Health Benefits (PSHB) plan when the switch from FEHB occurs on January 1, 2025. For USPS employees who retire this year or after PSHB goes into effect, Medicare B enrollment will be required to keep their health insurance plan in retirement.

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Typically, there is a penalty to enroll in Medicare part B if someone misses the enrollment window that opens upon turning 65. If able to enroll in this SEP, the penalty is waived.

Fertility Benefits for Federal Employees

Without discussing the law that impacts in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Alabama or the abortion debate, 2024 is the first year some FEHB plans are offering fertility benefits that are competitive with those offered in the private sector. The highest amount of coverage for IVF offered by an FEHB plan is $25,000 per year. This is significant as one round of IVF can cost around $20,000. A recent study showed that 86% of Americans believe IVF procedures should be legal.

Rule to Protect Feds Against Schedule F

Earlier this month, OPM published a final rule that was design to provide federal employees with protections against legislation similar to the “Schedule F” executive order that was signed by previous president in the fall of 2020. The category “Schedule F,” which the current White House repealed in 2021, created a category of federal employees that would exclude them from being covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Jobs involved in policymaking roles went from merit-based (known as competitive service) to “excepted service” – essentially making them easier to fire. The executive order impact around 10,000 individuals.

The new rule provides protections to civil servants, preventing federal jobs from being involuntarily recategorized from competitive to excepted service. It also establishes an appeal process for federal employees who believe they were subject to such an involuntary recategorization. OPM director publicly stated that the rule allows policymakers to fulfill their duties based on their expertise and not political loyalty.

Benefits Ben, STWS

**Federal Employee News written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner, ChFEBC℠ The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.

Federal Employee News - special enrollment period for medicare b - image: happy retiree checking mailbox
Federal Employee News : Special Enrollment Period for Medicare B, Fertility Benefits for Federal Employees, and OPM Rule to Combat Schedule F.