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Federal workers ask about voluntary benefits options

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Some federal employees may want more long-term care insurance (LTCI) and disability insurance options.

That possibility came up last week when managers of the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHB) held a benefits seminar.

A YouTube video of the seminar shows how a large employer and its benefits providers run a benefits seminar.

The managers talked about the complicated, exchange-like FEHB health plan; the government’s voluntary dental and vision plan; and the voluntary, employee-paid Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Plan.

Linda Anderson, the LTCI specialist at the event, talked about two hours and three minutes after the start of the event about what LTCI is and why people should consider planning for long-term care expenses. She noted that more than 270,000 people now have LTC benefits through the federal employees’ LTCI program.

During a question-and-answer period, one employee asked whether the federal program has “one of those periods where you have to need care for 90 days before the coverage kicks in.”

Anderson said the federal LTCI program has a 90-day elimination period.

Another employee asked whether the federal program has an option that lets a couple share one LTCI policy. Anderson said that kind of option is available in the private LTCI market but not through the federal program.

Still another worker noted that she used to work in the private sector.

“We used to have this product called short-term disability insurance,” the worker said. “Is that offered in your non-FEHB products?”

Bill Gray, the leader presenter laughed.

“What’s a whole nother question,” Gray said. 

Gray and others eventually explained that federal workers can get short-term disability insurance from associations using a payroll deduction program, but that the FEHB and official federal voluntary benefits programs do not offer a short-term disability insurance option.

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