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Federal Workers Affected by Shutdown Get Extension Before Being Billed for Dental, Vision Coverage

Updated: Jul 17, 2019

L. Rein & E. Yoder, Jan 24, 2019. The Washington Post

Summarized by: Susan Erickson

During the recent partial government shutdown, furloughed federal employees expressed distress towards sacrificing premium payments for groceries. Though the United States Office of Personnel Management responded to concern by permitting workers three missed health insurance premium payments, their protection initially excluded vision and dental coverage. The office later quietly modified their protection policy to encompass vision and dental premiums as well. Still, employees for shuttered government agencies were prevented from accessing their healthcare claim reimbursements or even switching insurance carriers for the duration of the shutdown. Without the government to deduct premiums from paychecks, insurance carriers were prepared to bill cash-strapped workers directly after the protection expired. Employees enrolled in the voluntary Federal Dental and Vision Insurance program currently pay around $76.80, twice a month, for a family dental plan. Every penny left in government employees’ rainy-day funds counts during these times.

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