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Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB)

Initial Election Period

As a new employee, you have 60 days from your date of appointment to make an election for the health benefits program. Your completed Health Benefits Election Form, SF-2809, must be submitted to your servicing Human Resources Office in a timely manner. If you fail to make an election within the required deadline, you are considered to have declined coverage. You will not have another opportunity to enroll until the annual open season (conducted in late Fall) or unless you experience a qualifying life event (see http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/planinfo/qle.asp) that would allow you to enroll. Please note that the SF-2809 should be completed and submitted even if you are declining coverage.

Effective Date of Coverage

Your election will become effective on the first day of the first pay period that begins after your employing office receives your enrollment request and you are in a pay status. This means that the earliest your health insurance can become effective is the beginning of the pay period that begins after the pay period in which you were hired.

General Eligibility Criteria for Family Members

The following individuals are eligible for coverage as family members: your spouse (including a valid common-law marriage), unmarried dependent children under the age of 22, including legally adopted children, and recognized natural (born out of wedlock) children who meet certain dependency requirements.

For your grandchild/foster child to be covered under your FEHB enrollment, you must sign a certification stating that your foster child meets all the requirements and that you will notify your employing office if the child marries, moves out of the home, or stops being financially dependent on you.

FEHB Handbook

Additional detailed guidance on the FEHB program is available by clicking on the FEHB Handbook.

CHECKBOOK's Online Guide to FEHB

This online guide is an innovative way to obtain reliable, useful information about the many health plans available under FEHB, and to make fast, easy, personalized plan comparisons. The guide compares and ranks plans based on total costs, including account premiums and estimated out-of-pocket costs (e.g., deductibles, co-payments, or prescription drugs); and predictions of the yearly maximum that an enrollee could possibly have to pay out-of-pocket. The site has been praised for its ease of use. You will be able to compare plan costs, review quality ratings, consider plan features, and gauge plan flexibility on issues like choice of doctors and other factors.

The site also has information on Flexible Spending Accounts. All Federal DOE headquarters employees are eligible to use this online guide.

Username: (your first name, a space, your last name)

Password: (your zip code)

So if John Doe who lives in zip code 22222 wanted to log in he would type:

Username: John Doe
Password: 22222

You will be assigned a permanent username and password after entering duty. The Guide will be available throughout the calendar year.

Foster Children Requirements

To be considered a foster child for health benefits and life insurance purposes:

  • The child must be unmarried and under age 22 (or, if the child is over age 22, he/she must be incapable of self-support).
  • The child must live with you.
  • The parent-child relationship must be with you, not the child's biological parent.
  • You must be the primary source of financial support for the child.
  • You must expect to raise the child to adulthood.

You don't need to be related to the child, nor do you need to legally adopt him/her. As long as the above requirements are met, you may have a foster parent-child relationship even when:

  • The child's natural parents are alive.
  • The child's natural parent lives with you.
  • The child receives some support from sources other than you (e.g., Social Security payments or support payments from a parent).

Common examples of a foster parent-child relationship are:

  • A child whose parents have died is living with, and being supported by, a close relative who is an enrollee.
  • A child who is living with and financially dependent on a grandparent who is an enrollee. (The natural parent of the child may also be a dependent.)
  • A child living with an enrollee under a pre-adoption agreement.
  • A child who is in the legal custody of an enrollee.

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