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Federal Employeees and COBRA

Posted on: November 5th, 2012 by Cobra Insurance Guide

Nurse and Patient

When the COBRA laws were passed in 1986, federal employees were exempt from being able to continue their health insurance after job loss with COBRA. However this did not mean that federal employees who used the Federal Employees Benefit Health plan (FEHB) had no way to continue their coverage. In fact, the government created it’s own COBRA like policy – the Temporary Continuation of Coverage, within the FEHB to protect employees in a similar way.

What is the FEHB Continuation Plan?

The portion of the Federal Employee Health Benefit plan that provides continuation is known as Temporary Continuation of Coverage(TCC). Under this plan qualifying employees can enroll in TCC after job loss and they can also extend coverage to their spouses and children. Also similar to COBRA in order to maintain this coverage, employees must pay the full premium plus a 2% admin cost. Additionally this coverage lasts for 18 months for the employee and up to 36 months, or 3 years, for the spouse and children depending on the qualifying event.

Signing up for Temporary Continuation of Coverage

Similar to COBRA there are strict rules and guidelines for signing up for TCC. You have just 60 days to apply for TCC and failure to complete the application form within this window means you are ineligible for coverage. In addition, once you sign up for TCC the benefits are retroactive back to the day you lose coverage. You can get the forms for signing up for TCC through the Human Records department of the federal office you work in.

What is a qualifying event for TCC?

There are multiple qualifying events for TCC that closely resemble the qualifying events of COBRA regulation. For employees the only qualifying event is separation from federal service without the presence of gross misconduct. The agency you worked for is responsible for determining whether or not something is actually gross misconduct.

For children there are additional qualifications for TCC including:

  • Turning 26 years old
  • Loss of status as a natural child, foster child, or stepchild
  • Death of the employee in qualifying instances

Additionally for spouses there are other conditions that can trigger TCC coverage including:

  • Divorce
  • Annulment
  • Death of the covered employee
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