Flickr user Scott Kirkwood/NPCA

Lawmakers Seek to Protect Health Benefits During Future Shutdowns

A weekly round-up of pay and benefits news.

Bipartisan legislation introduced Tuesday would ensure federal employees affected by future government shutdowns would not be at risk of losing any of their health insurance benefits.

The Ensuring FEDVIP and FLTCIP Coverage During Shutdowns Act (H.R. 2004 and S. 973), would protect enrollees in federal employee dental, vision and long-term care insurance programs who are furloughed or forced to work without pay during a shutdown from having their plans cancelled for nonpayment.

Currently if a lapse in appropriations lasts more than two consecutive pay periods, federal workers who have gone without pay are billed for their premiums as part of the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, and risk their coverage lapsing. The recent 35-day partial government shutdown fell into this category.  

Standard medical coverage provided through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program does not come under threat during a shutdown—premium payments missed during the shutdown are automatically deducted from the first post-lapse paycheck. But during the shutdown, workers at unfunded agencies who had a major life event found themselves unable to make changes to their plans, like adding a newborn baby to their insurance, in part because employees at the agency responsible for processing such changes also had been furloughed.

The Ensuring FEHBP Coverage During Shutdowns Act (H.R. 2003 and S. 971) stipulates that any employee involved with enrolling workers in FEHBP or changing their enrollment would be deemed excepted during future lapses in appropriations.

The bills were sponsored by Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; Gerry Connolly, D-Va.; Mark Meadows, R-N.C.; Katherine Clark, D-Mass.; Don Young, R-Alaska; and Van Taylor, R-Texas, in the House. Sens. Tina Smith, D-Minn.; Ben Cardin, D-Md.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Tim Kaine, D-Va.; and Mark Warner, D-Va., sponsored the legislation in their chamber.

“While we truly hope to avoid shutdowns in the future, the measures we are introducing today would ensure that federal employees could enroll their newborn babies in their health insurance plans and that they would not lose their dental, vision or long-term care insurance if another funding lapse occurs,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “We owe it to our civil servants to mitigate the impact of funding lapses over which they have no control.”

Meanwhile, the House on Monday by voice vote approved a bill aimed at improving engagement among employees at the Homeland Security Department.

The Department of Homeland Security Morale, Recognition, Learning and Engagement Act, introduced by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., would provide a number of new ways for the leadership of the department to improve morale. For the last five years, it has been ranked at the bottom of large agencies in terms of employee engagement, as measured by the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

The bill would create initiatives to improve professional development at Homeland Security, allowing the department's chief human capital officer to create a career path framework and “create opportunities for leader development.” It would direct them to maintain a catalog of professional development opportunities.

It also would establish an employee engagement steering committee, made up of department officials and representatives from federal employee unions, to find ways to improve engagement. It also would allow the Homeland Security secretary to set up a non-monetary reward program for top performers.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.