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DoD Pays Employees' FEHB Premiums For Some Guard, Reserve Members Called Up

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2002 – Some DoD civilian employees in the reserve components who are called to active duty will see Uncle Sam pick up their Federal Employee Health Benefits Program premiums.

The new personnel policy, recently authorized by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, applies to call-ups for contingency operations under Title 10 of the U.S. Code.

"This is a really good benefit for our civilian employees in the Guard and Reserve who are deployed in support of contingency operations," said Nancy J. Wilson, chief of the Employee Benefits and Records Management Division, Human Resource Services Center, Washington Headquarters Services, in the Pentagon.

Depending on their health care plan, Wilson pointed out, participants can save up to $50 a week.

Eligible DoD civilians also may obtain retroactive reimbursement of their FEHBP premium payments if they were called to active duty for certain crises on or after Dec. 8, 1995, according to a June 3 DoD personnel document listing the change. Filing procedures for these payments are still being developed and will be announced when available.

Reserve component members affected by the retroactivity policy change include those called to active duty in support of operations in:

o Bosnia, by Executive Order 12982, effective date Dec. 8, 1995.

o Iraqi Crisis, by Executive Order 13076, effective date, Feb. 24, 1998.

o Kosovo, by Executive Order 13120, effective date, April 27, 1999.

o Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America, Executive Order 13223, with effective date Sept. 14, 2001.

The personnel document noted that to be eligible for retroactive reimbursements, the DoD civilian employee must have been: enrolled in the FEHBP at the time of call-up and elected to continue coverage while on active duty; a member of the reserve components of the armed forces; ordered to active duty voluntarily or involuntarily in support of a contingency operation as defined in Section 101(a)(13), of Title 10, U.S. Code; and placed on civilian leave without pay or separated from service to perform active duty.

The maximum period of eligibility for each period of active duty is 18 months.

DoD civilian employees who are guardsmen are ineligible for reimbursements for periods they are or were ordered to duty under Title 32 of the U.S. Code or any provisions of state, territorial or District of Columbia codes.

Current eligible participants must provide their personnel administration offices with an official written copy of orders stating they are being assigned to active duty in support of a contingency operation under the Title 10 authority.

Upon receipt of valid military assignment orders, the service member's personnel office will prepare and forward the required paperwork.

It's important that individuals notify their benefits specialist as soon as possible, Wilson said. The specialist will work with the employee to make sure that all applicable benefits process smoothly, including the new provisions for payment of FEHB premiums, she noted.

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