Federal Employee Health Program Insurer Offers Cash for Vaccinations, and More
A weekly roundup of pay and benefits news.
One of the largest insurance providers in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program is offering a new incentive to encourage federal employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Beginning June 11, anyone 18 and older enrolled in Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Federal Employee Program will receive $50 on their MyBlue Wellness Card if they provide documentation of their coronavirus vaccine record. The additional money can be used on “qualified medical expenses.” All vaccinated adults who are enrolled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan are eligible regardless of when they received the vaccine.
In a statement, William Breskin, the insurance provider’s senior vice president of government programs, said the company hopes the initiative will help the United States meet President Biden’s goal of 70% of the adult population being vaccinated by July 4. Although state and local governments have organized a number of vaccination incentive programs in recent months, this would mark the first such effort by a health insurance company.
“FEP remains committed to protecting the health of our members and we continuously look for innovative solutions to the challenges we face in our health care system,” Breskin said. “We’re proud to take part in the White House’s nationwide effort to help end the pandemic and encourage our members to get vaccinated and protect not only themselves, but their families and loved ones from this unforgiving virus.”
Combined Federal Campaign Planning
The Office of Personnel Management last week announced that it has begun planning for the 2021 iteration of the federal government’s annual charity giving drive, the Combined Federal Campaign. This campaign will run from Sept. 1 through Jan. 15, 2022.
In a memo, acting OPM Director Kathleen McGettigan encouraged agency heads to provide leadership to encourage employees to make donations through the campaign. She highlighted that beginning this year feds will be able to make their donations, which can be automatically deducted from their pay checks over the course of the following year, via a new mobile app.
“This year, the mobile giving app will integrate full payroll deduction options,” McGettigan wrote. “For employees who may not have access to or decide not to use the electronic giving system, we also will continue to make a paper pledge form available.”
McGettigan said the mobile app could make events hosted at agencies more impactful again, after several years where special events could only be used to raise awareness of the CFC, as bake sale-style events that accepted cash were no longer supported.
“Special events during your CFC season are still encouraged provided they focus on increasing employee awareness of CFC charities and their missions,” she wrote. “These events bring a higher level of employee engagement into the workplace. The CFC Giving Mobile App replaces cash fundraising at these events and allows federal employees to make the full range of donations from their secure accounts.”