Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program: Enrollment Options Following the Termination of a Plan or Plan Option

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Enhanced Content

Relevant information about this document from Regulations.gov provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.

Published Document

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

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing a proposed rule to amend the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program regulations regarding enrollment options following the termination of a plan or plan option.

DATES:

OPM must receive comments on or before March 9, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Send written comments to Chelsea Ruediger, Planning and Policy Analysis, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Room 4312, 1900 E Street NW., Washington, DC 20415. You may also submit comments using the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Chelsea Ruediger at (202) 606-0004.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

When a plan or plan option in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program terminates, OPM provides the enrollees of that plan or plan option a time period in which they may elect to enroll in a new plan or plan option. This proposed rule clarifies the actions that OPM and employing agencies may take when an enrollee fails to make an enrollment election during the time period provided.

Current regulation ends an employee's enrollment in the FEHB Program if he or she fails to make an enrollment election during the time period provided by OPM following a plan termination. This proposed regulation amends 5 CFR 890.301 to require the employing office to enroll automatically these employees into the lowest-cost nationwide plan option based on the enrollee share of the cost of a self only enrollment. Under the proposed regulation, a plan will not be considered the lowest-cost nationwide plan option if it is a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) or if it requires a membership fee or an association fee.

For annuitants, current regulation provides that individuals who fail to make an enrollment election during the time provided by OPM following a plan termination shall be considered to be enrolled in the option of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan that OPM determines most closely approximates the terminated plan. The proposed regulation amends 5 CFR 890.306 to provide that these annuitants will be enrolled into the lowest-cost nationwide plan option that is available to the individual based on the same criteria listed above.

Current regulation provides that when a plan discontinuation occurs due to a disaster, employees and annuitants who fail to make an enrollment election within 60 days of the disaster, as announced by OPM, shall be considered to be enrolled in the Standard Option of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan. The proposed rule amends the regulation to provide that these individuals will be enrolled into the lowest-cost nationwide plan option that is available to the individual based on the same criteria listed above. It also provides belated enrollment authority for individuals who, for causes beyond Start Printed Page 930their control, are unable to make enrollment changes and are enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan.

Since 2004, OPM has allowed up to three plan options under a plan. See 69 FR 31721. Accordingly, the proposed rule also updates outdated language in 5 CFR 890.301 and 890.306 that considers the termination of a plan option under a plan with a total of only two plan options. Under the proposed rule, when two or more plan options remain after a different plan option is terminated, the employing office will enroll the employee in the lowest-cost remaining plan option that is not an HDHP.

Conforming edits have been made to 5 CFR 890.806 for former spouses and 5 CFR 890.1108 for enrollees in temporary continuation of coverage status.

We are seeking comment on these provisions.

Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

OPM has reviewed this proposed rule for PRA implications and have determined that it does not apply to this action.

Regulatory Impact Analysis

OPM has examined the impact of this proposed rule as required by Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563, which 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 of $100 million or more in any one year. After completing this analysis, OPM has determined that this rule is not considered a major rule.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because the regulation only impacts options available for FEHB enrollees when the plan or plan option in which they are enrolled terminates.

Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Review

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

Federalism

We have examined this rule in accordance with Executive Order 13132, Federalism, and have determined that this rule will not have any negative impact on the rights, roles, and responsibilities of State, local, or tribal governments.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 890

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Government employees
  • Health facilities
  • Health insurance
  • Health professions
  • Hostages
  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Military personnel
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Retirement
End List of Subjects Start Signature

U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Katherine Archuleta,

Director.

End Signature

Accordingly, OPM proposes to amend title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, part 890 as follows:

Start Part

PART 890—FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM

End Part Start Amendment Part

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

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8913; Sec. 890.301 also issued under sec. 311 of Pub. L. 111-03, 123 Stat. 64; Sec. 890.111 also issued under section 1622(b) of Pub. L. 104-106, 110 Stat. 521; Sec. 890.112 also issued under section 1 of Pub. L. 110-279, 122 Stat. 2604; 5 U.S.C. 8913; Sec. 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; Sec. 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; Pub. L. 111-148, as amended by Pub. L. 111-152.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. Amend § 890.301 by revising paragraphs (i)(4)(ii), (iii), and (iv) and adding paragraphs (i)(4)(v) and (n) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Opportunities for employees who are not participants in premium conversion to enroll or change enrollment; effective dates.
* * * * *

(i) * * *

(4) * * *

(ii) If the whole plan is discontinued, an employee who does not change the enrollment within the time set in paragraph (i)(4)(i) of this section will be enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan option, as defined in paragraph (n) of this section;

(iii) If one or more options of a plan are discontinued, an employee who does not change the enrollment will be enrolled in the remaining option of the plan, or in the case of a plan with two or more options remaining, the lowest-cost remaining option that is not a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).

(iv) If the discontinuance of the plan, whether permanent or temporary, is due to a disaster, an employee must change the enrollment within 60 days of the disaster, as announced by OPM. If an employee does not change the enrollment within the time frame announced by OPM, the employee will be enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan option, as defined in paragraph (n) of this section. The effective date of enrollment changes under this provision will be set by OPM when it makes the announcement allowing such changes;

(v) An employee who is unable, for causes beyond his or her control, to make an enrollment change within the 60 days following a disaster and is, as a result, enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan as defined in paragraph (n) of this section, may request a belated enrollment into the plan of his or her choice subject to the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section.

* * * * *

(n) OPM will annually determine the lowest-cost nationwide plan option calculated based on the enrollee share of the cost of a self only enrollment. The plan option identified may not be a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) or an option from a health benefits plan that charges an association or membership fee.

Start Amendment Part

3. Amend § 890.306 by revising paragraphs (l)(4)(ii), (iii), (iv), and (v) and adding paragraph (l)(4)(vi) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
When can annuitants or survivor annuitants change enrollment or reenroll and what are the effective dates?
* * * * *

(l) * * *

(4) * * *

(ii) If a plan discontinues all of its existing options, an annuitant who does not change his or her enrollment is deemed to have enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan option, as defined in § 890.301(n); except when the annuity is insufficient to pay the withholdings, then paragraph (q) of this section applies.

(iii) If one or more options of a plan are discontinued, an annuitant who does not change the enrollment will be enrolled in the remaining option of the plan, or in the case of a plan with two or more options remaining, the lowest-cost remaining option that is not a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). In the event that the annuity is insufficient to pay the withholdings, then paragraph (q) of this section applies;

(iv) After an involuntary enrollment under paragraph (l)(4)(ii) or (iii) of this section becomes effective, the annuitant may change the enrollment to another option of the plan into which he or she Start Printed Page 931was enrolled or another health plan of his or her choice retroactively within 90-days after OPM advises the annuitant of the new enrollment;

(v) If the discontinuance of the plan, whether permanent or temporary, is due to a disaster, an annuitant must change the enrollment within 60 days of the disaster, as announced by OPM. If an annuitant does not change the enrollment within the time frame announced by OPM, the annuitant will be enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan option, as defined in § 890.301(n). The effective date of enrollment changes under this provision will be set by OPM when it makes the announcement allowing such changes;

(vi) An annuitant who is unable, for causes beyond his or her control, to make an enrollment change within the 60 days following a disaster and is, as a result, enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan as defined in § 890.301(n), may request a belated enrollment into the plan of his or her choice subject to the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

4. Amend § 890.806 by revising paragraphs (j)(4)(ii), (iii), and (iv) and adding paragraph (j)(4)(v) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
When can former spouses change enrollment or reenroll and what are the effective dates?
* * * * *

(j) * * *

(4) * * *

(ii) If the whole plan is discontinued, a former spouse who does not change the enrollment within the time set will be enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan option, as defined in § 890.301(n);

(iii) If one or more options of a plan are discontinued, a former spouse who does not change the enrollment will be enrolled in the remaining option of the plan, or in the case of a plan with two or more options remaining, the lowest-cost remaining option that is not a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP);

(iv) If the discontinuance of the plan, whether permanent or temporary, is due to a disaster, the former spouse must change the enrollment within 60 days of the disaster, as announced by OPM. If a former spouse does not change the enrollment within the time frame announced by OPM, the former spouse will be enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan option, as defined in § 890.301(n). The effective date of enrollment changes under this provision will be set by OPM when it makes the announcement allowing such changes;

(v) A former spouse who is unable, for causes beyond his or her control, to make an enrollment change within the 60 days following a disaster and is, as a result, enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan as defined in § 890.301(n), may request a belated enrollment into the plan of his or her choice subject to the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

5. Amend § 890.1108 by revising paragraphs (h)(4)(ii), (iii), and (iv) and adding paragraph (h)(4)(v) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Opportunities to change enrollment; effective dates.
* * * * *

(h) * * *

(4) * * *

(ii) If the whole plan is discontinued, an enrollee who does not change the enrollment within the time set will be enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan option, as defined in § 890.301(n);

(iii) If one or more options of a plan are discontinued, an enrollee who does not change the enrollment will enrolled in the remaining option of the plan, or in the case of a plan with two or more options remaining, the lowest-cost remaining option that is not a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP);

(iv) If the discontinuance of the plan, whether permanent or temporary, is due to a disaster, the enrollee must change the enrollment within 60 days of the disaster, as announced by OPM. If the enrollee does not change the enrollment within the time frame announced by OPM, the enrollee will be enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan option, as defined in § 890.301(n). The effective date of enrollment changes under this provision will be set by OPM when it makes the announcement allowing such changes;

(v) An enrollee who is unable, for causes beyond his or her control, to make an enrollment change within the 60 days following a disaster and is, as a result, enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan as defined in § 890.301(n), may request a belated enrollment into the plan of his or her choice subject to the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section.

* * * * *
End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2014-30636 Filed 1-6-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6325-63-P