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Federal Employees Health Benefits Children's Equity Act

DCL-00-123

Published: December 22, 2000
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management, Medical Support
Types:
Policy, Dear Colleague Letters (DCL), Statutes/Legislation

DCL-00-123

DEC 22, 2000

TO: ALL STATE IV-D DIRECTORS

RE: Recently Enacted Legislation

Dear Colleague:

This is to inform you of recently enacted Federal legislation which will impact State IV-D programs. Enclosed is a copy of the text of the legislation.

The Federal Employees Health Benefits Children's Equity Act of 2000 was enacted October 30, 2000 as P.L. 106-394. P.L. 106-394 amended section 8905 of Chapter 5 of the United States Code (5 U.S.C. 8905) by adding a new sub-section 8905(h) to enable the Federal Government to enroll an employee and his or her family in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) when a State court, or administrative authority, orders the employee to provide health insurance coverage for a child of the employee but the employee fails to provide the coverage.

BACKGROUND:

As cited in the House Report 106-779, dated 7/24/00, for HR2842 (and the Senate Report 106-492, dated 10/6/00, for S1688), the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 required each State to pass a law requiring an employer to enroll a child in an employee's group health plan when a court orders the employee to provide health insurance coverage for the child but the employee fails to provide the coverage. The FEHBP allows a Federal employee to enroll as either an individual or for self and family coverage, but does not allow the employing agency to elect coverage on the employee's behalf. In addition, the FEHBP generally preempts State law with regard to coverage and benefits. So prior to the enactment of P.L. 106-394, Federal agencies were unable to ensure the health coverage of a child even if a court or administrative support order would require compliance by other employers.

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is working with the Federal Office of Personnel Management to ensure implementation of P.L. 106-394. OCSE will continue working with State IV-D Directors regarding OPM implementing procedures.

A copy of the text of P.L. 106-394 is enclosed. Copies of P.L. 106-394, as well as copies of the House and Senate Reports are available from THOMAS -- U.S. Congress.

Sincerely,

Frank Fuentes
Deputy Commissioner and
Acting Operating Head, OCSE

ENCLOSURE: P.L. 106-394 Text

Final version (Enrolled Bill) as passed by both Houses.
Enacted into law as PL 106-394 on October 30, 2000.


Federal Employees Health Benefits Children's Equity Act of 2000 (Enrolled Bill)

--H.R.2842--

One Hundred Sixth Congress

of the

United States of America

AT THE SECOND SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,
the twenty-fourth day of January, two thousand

An Act

To amend chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, concerning the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, to enable the Federal Government to enroll an employee and his or her family in the FEHB Program when a State court orders the employee to provide health insurance coverage for a child of the employee but the employee fails to provide the coverage, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SEC. 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Federal Employees Health Benefits Children's Equity Act of 2000'.

SEC. 2. HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CHILDREN.

Section 8905 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(h)(1) An unenrolled employee who is required by a court or administrative order to provide health insurance coverage for a child who meets the requirements of section 8901(5) may enroll for self and family coverage in a health benefits plan under this chapter. If such employee fails to enroll for self and family coverage in a health benefits plan that provides full benefits and services in the location in which the child resides, and the employee does not provide documentation showing that such coverage has been provided through other health insurance, the employing agency shall enroll the employee in a self and family enrollment in the option which provides the lower level of coverage under the Service Benefit Plan.

`(2) An employee who is enrolled as an individual in a health benefits plan under this chapter and who is required by a court or administrative order to provide health insurance coverage for a child who meets the requirements of section 8901(5) may change to a self and family enrollment in the same or another health benefits plan under this chapter. If such employee fails to change to a self and family enrollment and the employee does not provide documentation showing that such coverage has been provided through other health insurance, the employing agency shall change the enrollment of the employee to a self and family enrollment in the plan in which the employee is enrolled if that plan provides full benefits and services in the location where the child resides. If the plan in which the employee is enrolled does not provide full benefits and services in the location in which the child resides, or, if the employee fails to change to a self and family enrollment in a plan that provides full benefits and services in the location where the child resides, the employing agency shall change the coverage of the employee to a self and family enrollment in the option which provides the lower level of coverage under the Service Benefits Plan.

`(3) The employee may not discontinue the self and family enrollment in a plan that provides full benefits and services in the location in which the child resides for so long as the court or administrative order remains in effect and the child continues to meet the requirements of section 8901(5), unless the employee provides documentation showing that such coverage has been provided through other health insurance.'.

SEC. 3. ANNUITY SUPPLEMENT.

(a) IN GENERAL- Section 8421a(b) of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(5) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) through (4), the reduction required by subsection (a) shall be effective with respect to the annuity supplement payable for each month in the 12-month period beginning on the first day of the seventh month after the end of the calendar year in which the excess earnings were earned.'.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to reductions required to be made in calendar years beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.