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Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB)

As a new employee, you are entitled to enroll yourself and any eligible family members in a health plan offered under the FEHB program. You may enroll in any available plan, option, and type of enrollment within 60 days after your date of appointment. (You are ineligible for health benefits if your appointment is limited to one year or less or your work schedule is other than full or part-time.)

There are two types of enrollment: Self Only and Self & Family. A Self & Family enrollment covers you, your spouse, and your unmarried dependent children under age 22.

Over 350 health plans are offered under the FEHB program. Of the 14 available managed fee-for-service plans, seven are open to all enrollees, while another seven are available only to specific categories of employees. In addition, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are available in most areas of the United States; you must live or work within a defined area to be eligible to enroll in a particular HMO.

Eligible employees must complete the Employee Health Benefits Form, SF-2809 (pdf), within 60 days, whether electing to enroll in health benefits or not. (Instructions are included with the form.)

Additional information on all current health plan.

If you enroll in health benefits, you are automatically covered by Premium Conversion PDF [18.69 K] unless you opt-out or waive participation. Premium Conversion PDF [18.69 K] is a tax benefit, which allows enrollees to pay for health insurance on a pre-tax basis, which means that the money is not subject to Federal income, Medicare, or Social Security taxes, and many State taxes, as well. This reduces your taxable income, so less tax is withheld, and your paycheck is larger.

Participation in Premium Conversion PDF [18.69 K] may limit your opportunity to change from a Self and Family enrollment to Self Only or to cancel health benefits coverage at any time. Employees who are participating in Premium Conversion will be allowed to cancel that coverage, or change to Self Only, ONLY during the annual Open Season (usually November/December and effective the following January) or if the decision to do so comes at the time of a "qualifying life event," such as marriage, birth of a child, or change in your spouse's employment. These life events are listed in the Form SF-2809 PDF [822.87 K] instructions.

You can elect to opt-out or waive participation in Premium Conversion PDF [18.69 K] by filing a completed waiver form prior to the effective date of health benefits coverage. You may also change your participation status in Premium Conversion PDF [18.69 K] during the annual health benefits Open Season or during the year, if you have a qualifying life event.

Additional information on Premium Conversion.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Human Resources Division | (301) 763-4748 |  Last Revised: April 08, 2013