NTEU Testimony on FEHBP Age 25 Dependent Coverage


4/30/08: On April 29, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley testified before the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in favor of increasing the age of FEHBP coverage for dependent children to age 25. This group currently loses FEHBP coverage when they turn age 22.

In her testimony (click here, Testimony, to review), Kelley pointed out to the subcommittee that young people —including dependent children of federal employees — make up the largest and fastest growing segment of the U.S. population without health insurance. Studies have shown that young adults, college educated or not, face waiting periods, temporary positions, and lower wage jobs as they enter the job market. Health care is frequently nonexistent or not available to them at a price they can afford. States all over the country, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Maryland, Utah, and many others have enacted legislation requiring private sector companies to extend coverage beyond age 22.

After the hearing, the subcommittee approved a Davis substitute amendment to the original bill to provide a new voluntary young adults health program under FEHBP. This proposed program would be available to young adults who lose their FEHBP coverage but it would require enrollees to pay the full premium. The subcommittee contends this would cost less than the existing Temporary Continuation Coverage (TCC) that is currently available under FEHBP.

NTEU is concerned that no comprehensive study has been done on adding the young adult group to the existing FEHBP pool. NTEU intends to work with the subcommittee to improve the new version of the bill before this measure receives further consideration by the Full Oversight Committee. While NTEU has a long way to go on the issue, we will continue to fight to improve it as it moves through the legislative process.