Feds won’t get billed just yet for dental, vision insurance premiums

WASHINGTON — Federal workers won’t get billed just yet for one of their benefits. Initially, the Office of Personnel Management said that after two missed paychecks, federal workers would begin to be billed directly for their dental and vision insurance premiums. That’s now changed.

“You won’t be billed until we get to three consecutive pay periods without pay,” said Nicole Ogrysko with Federal News Network.

“OPM came in and extended it by just another pay period, basically giving people more time to potentially adjust to this, or figure out exactly how they might deal with some of these bills that could be coming in,” she said.

Another benefits-related development this week involves a warning from one branch of the military.

“Coast Guard military retirees may face a situation if the shutdown continues through January where they won’t receive their monthly annuitant payments,” Ogrysko said.

“Retirees typically get … a check in the mail on the first of every month, and the Coast Guard is in a different situation than every other agency. It uses a pay-as-you-go appropriation. That means that the shutdown does impact their ability to pay this money out, and they don’t have any money left,” she said.

Ogrysko added that Federal News Network has been hearing from feds asking how to take leave during the shutdown without getting in trouble. OPM has now made it clear that there are two options.

“Take leave as you normally would if the government were not shut down, approve it through your supervisor and then, eventually, whenever the government opens, you would be paid for that time, and then you would be charged in your leave bank for the time that you took off,” Ogrysko said.

Option No. 2: “Work with your manager to take the time off and be put in default furlough status. That means that you’re technically furloughed for the day or the hours that you took off from work,” she said.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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