Government shutdown stops worker pay but not heath care coverage

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As this record breaking ongoing shutdown continues, federal employees continue their health insurance.

The government shutdown continues to stop 800,000 federal employees and others from receiving their paychecks. That said, as they go unpaid, many have questions about their employee health insurance and other health benefits. Workers are worrying about their health, vision, dental and long-term care coverage.

For those who wonder about their insurance benefits, most will continue even while workers go unpaid.

Federal employees, for the most part, don’t need to worry that the government shutdown will affect their health insurance. This, according to an FAQ blog post on the topic shared by the Office of Personnel Management. That FAQ blog post and the trade association for the health insurance industry have both underscored that the Federal Employees Health Benefits program continues regardless of the government shutdown.

The concern stems from the fact that many federal agencies affected by the shutdown aren’t issuing paychecks for their workers. As such, they are also not paying the insurance premiums for the health benefits of those employees. However, the coverage will continue regardless.

The government shutdown will not stop federal workers from receiving their benefits.

“The shutdown should not impact their coverage,” said America’s Health Insurance Plans spokesperson Kristine Grow. That trade group represents insurance companies, including providers offering coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges. “It’s business as usual.”

When the shutdown at the federal government comes to an end, the insurance premiums will resume. Federal employees should expect that they will see the typical deduction from their paychecks. That said, there will also be an additional deduction of any premiums payment amounts that weren’t paid during the time that the paychecks weren’t being issued.

“Procedures may vary somewhat by payroll office, but the maximum additional deduction allowed under regulations is one pay period’s worth of premiums (in addition to the current pay period’s premium),” explained a spokesperson from the Office of Personnel Management.

Government Shutdown - Sorry we're closed signFederal agency contract workers may be affected differently during the government shutdown. The reason is that they are primarily excluded from Federal Employees Health Benefits program.

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