News Briefs

January 21, 1997

News Briefs

The following news summaries are from OPM AM, the daily newsletter of the Office of Personnel Management. OPM AM is available on OPM Mainstreet, the agency's electronic bulletin board, at 202-606-4800.

LORRAINE GREEN RECEIVES THE DIRECTOR'S AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED FEDERAL SERVICE--"OPM Deputy Director Lorraine Green received the Director's Award for Distinguished Federal Service for her superb and distinguished leadership at the Office of Personnel Management" (OPM News Release, January 17).

THE FEDERAL DIARY--"Before the days of special occupational pay rates and geographic differentials, a federal workers who was transferred from a small town to New York, Chicago or Washington suffered financial--as well as cultural--shock. Despite various laws designed to make sense of the federal pay system and close the official (but, to many outside the beltway, unbelievable) 30 percent gap between government and industry salaries, the way Uncle Sam pays his people is still subject to all sorts of fine-tuning" (Tuesday, January 21). "Insurance policies set up by Congress to protect the incomes of civilians mobilized by National Guard and reserve call-ups actually are paying policy holders only 4 cents on the dollar. The insurance plan, first outlined here Oct. 18, allows guard and reserve unit members to buy income-replacement insurance worth up to $5,000 a month" (Monday, January 20). "When it comes to benefits such as 401(k) plans, government has one of the best. The thrift savings plan charges administrative fees (0.1 percent) that are half of what the least-expensive private mutual funds charge. Some private companies give employees more choices. A few have a better matching contribution plan, But many companies don't offer savings plans or contribute nothing to employees' savings" (The Washington Post, Sunday, January 19).

PRESIDENT HONORS FAA RETIREE--"The President's Award for Distinguished Federal Service was presented this month to H.C. Mac' McClure, a career official who helped organize assistance to survivors of the bomb attack that destroyed the Oklahoma City federal building in April 1995. At the time of the bombing, McClure led the Oklahoma Federal Executive Board and served as director of the Federal Aviation Administration's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City. He retired Jan. 3 after more than 25 years with the FAA" (The Washington Post, Tuesday, January 21).

MOST WORKERS UNDER MANAGED CARE PLANS--"More than 80 percent of employees in the Baltimore-Washington area, and nearly that many nationally, are covered by some form of managed care plan, according to an annual survey by Foster Higgins, the national benefits-consulting firm. The survey found only 23 percent of employees nationally covered by traditional indemnity health insurance--compared with 52 percent just five years ago" (The Sun, January 21).

EXPERTS SEE EMPLOYERS PAYING MORE FOR HEALTH--"Businesses will see modest increases in their employee health costs this year, some experts predict, reversing a trend of flat or declining benefits expenses the past three years. Economists and industry analysts say managed care health plans are posed to raise premiums after keeping them low the last couple of years to boost enrollment" (The Washington Times, January 20).

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