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Proposed Rule

Waiver of Requirements for Continued Coverage During Retirement

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

Under current Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program regulations, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may waive the eligibility requirements for health benefits coverage as an annuitant for an individual when, in its sole discretion, it determines that it would be against equity and good conscience not to allow a person to be enrolled in the FEHB Program as an annuitant. The regulations state that an individual's failure to satisfy eligibility requirements must be due to exceptional circumstances. They also list specific situations where a waiver will not be granted by OPM such as when an individual's retirement is based on a disability or an involuntary separation, or when an individual was misadvised by his/her employing office. This proposed regulation eliminates these specific situations from the regulation. This proposed regulation will provide OPM with more flexibility when granting waivers.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before October 6, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

This document is available for viewing at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 20415. Send all comments to Anne Easton, Manager, Insurance Policy, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E Street, NW., Room 3400, Washington, DC 20415.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael Kaszynski, Policy Analyst, at 202.606.0004.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under 5 U.S.C. 8905(b), OPM may waive the eligibility requirements for health benefits coverage as an annuitant for an individual when, in its sole discretion, it determines that it would be against equity and good conscience not to allow a person to be enrolled in the FEHB Program as an annuitant. Under 5 CFR 890.108, an individual's failure to satisfy eligibility requirements must be due to exceptional circumstances. An individual requesting a waiver must provide OPM with evidence that (1) the individual intended to have FEHB coverage as an annuitant (retiree); (2) the circumstances that prevented the individual from meeting the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 8905(b) were beyond the individual's control; and (3) the individual acted reasonably to protect his or her right to continue coverage into retirement.

Section 890.108 lists specific situations where a waiver will not be granted by OPM such as when an individual's retirement is based on a disability or an involuntary separation, or an individual was misadvised by his/her employing office. This regulation eliminates these specific situations from 5 CFR 890.108 to provide more flexibility to the waiver process.

Collection of Information Requirement

The proposed rule does not impose information collection and recordkeeping requirements that meet the definition of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995's term “collection of information” which means obtaining, causing to be obtained, soliciting, or requiring the disclosure to third parties or the public, of facts or opinions by or for an agency, regardless of form or format, calling for either answers to identical questions posed to, or identical reporting or recordkeeping requirements imposed on ten or more persons, other than agencies, instrumentalities, or employees of the United States; or answers to questions posed to agencies, instrumentalities, or employees of the United States which are to be used for general statistical purposes. Consequently, it need not be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under the authority of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires agencies to analyze options for regulatory relief of small businesses. For purposes of the RFA, small entities include small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies with revenues of $11.5 million or less in any one year. This rulemaking affects FEHB Program health insurance eligibility requirements which do not impact the dollar threshold. Therefore, I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Regulatory Impact Analysis

We have examined the impact of this proposed rule as required by Executive Order 12866 (September 1993, Regulatory Planning and Review), the RFA (September 16, 1980, Pub. L. 96-354), section 1102(b) of the Social Security Act, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, (Pub. L. 104-4), and Executive Order 13132. Executive Order 12866 (as amended by Executive Order 13258, which merely assigns responsibility of duties) directs agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). A regulatory impact analysis must be prepared for major rules with economically significant effects ($100 million or more in any one year). This rule is not considered a major rule, as defined in section 804(2) of title 5, United States Code, because we estimate its impact will only affect federal government employment offices. Any resulting economic impact would not be expected to exceed the dollar threshold.

Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Review

This rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget in accordance with Executive Order 12866.

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List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 890

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Linda M. Springer,

Director, Office of Personnel Management.

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For the reasons set forth in the preamble, OPM proposes to amend 5 CFR part 890 as follows:

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PART 890—FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM

1. The authority citation for part 890 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8913; 890.803 also issued under 50 U.S.C. 403p, 22 U.S.C. 4069c and 4069c-1; subpart L also issued under sec. 599C of Pub. L. 101-513, 104 Stat. 2064, as amended; § 890.102 also issued under sections 11202(f), 11232(e), 11246 (b) and (c) of Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 251; and section 721 of Pub. L. 105-261, 112 Stat. 2061, unless otherwise noted.

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2. Section 890.108 is revised to read as follows:

Will OPM waive requirements for continued coverage during retirement?

(a) Under 5 U.S.C. 8905(b), OPM may waive the eligibility requirements for health benefits coverage as an annuitant for an individual when, in its sole discretion, it determines that due to exceptional circumstances it would be against equity and good conscience not to allow a person to be enrolled in the FEHB Program as an annuitant.

(b) The individual's failure to satisfy the eligibility requirements must be due to exceptional circumstances. An individual requesting a waiver must provide OPM with evidence that:

(1) The individual intended to have FEHB coverage as an annuitant (retiree);

(2) The circumstances that prevented the individual from meeting the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 8905(b) were beyond the individual's control; and

(3) The individual acted reasonably to protect his or her right to continue coverage into retirement.

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[FR Doc. E6-12782 Filed 8-4-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6329-39-P