WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) today applauded enactment of legislation that will assist federal employees in meeting their long-term care needs. The Long-Term Care Security Act, which was signed into law this morning by the President, includes a provision pushed by Senator Thompson that covers Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) employees and retirees.
“This legislation provides an important new benefit for federal employees, and TVA employees will now be able to take full advantage of it,” Senator Thompson said. “Through the combined purchasing power of the federal workforce, this bill makes long-term care insurance affordable for federal employees at no cost to the taxpayers. I’m pleased we were able to include TVA in the plan and hope that it serves as a model for employers nationwide whose employees face similar long-term care needs.”
The legislation directs the Office of Personnel Management to establish a long-term care program whereby enrollees will be required to pay 100 percent of the premiums. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that net federal outlays over the long run will be zero. Long-term care insurance can help federal workers plan for the future and protect themselves from the financial risks associated with caring for oneself and family in the latter years of life. It is estimated that premiums for this new group insurance will be up to 20 percent less than if retirees purchased the insurance on their own.
Eligibility for participation in the long-term care insurance program for civilian employees parallels eligibility for participation in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Since some federal agencies provide health insurance to their employees and retirees apart from FEHBP, those employees in agencies not participating in FEHBP are not covered by this legislation. After being contacted by TVA employees and retirees interested in participating in the long-term care insurance program, Senator Thompson worked with his House and Senate colleagues to ensure that TVA employees and retirees were included in the final bill.
H.R. 4040 also includes provisions of S. 1232, the Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act. This bill provides long-awaited relief for those federal employees who, through no fault of their own, find themselves enrolled in the wrong federal retirement system. This bill provides a comprehensive solution to the problems faced by federal employees who are confronted with retirement coverage errors, and it does so at a reasonable cost.
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