Benefit rules loosened for federal employees in tornado area

Federal employees affected by the Oklahoma tornado are eligible for special considerations in their health insurance and other benefit programs, the Office of Personnel Management said Thursday.

In a message to agencies, OPM said it has contacted Federal Employees Health Benefits Program carriers “to ask them to demonstrate maximum flexibility” in providing benefits, such as relaxing requirements regarding how fast a plan must be notified of an emergency admission or treatment at an out-of-network hospital or other medical center.

A rescue worker checks the rubble in a residential area in Moore, Oklahoma May 21. (Reuters) A rescue worker checks the rubble in a residential area in Moore, Oklahoma May 21. (Reuters)

OPM also expects plans to make sure that enrollees get additional supplies of medicine if necessary.

Enrollees in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program living in the affected areas who miss premium payments will not have their coverage canceled, but instead their accounts will be brought up to date later, OPM said.

Further, the requirement for a death certificate will be waived for claims under the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance program; only a statement from the agency that the employee or covered family member was in the affected area is needed.

OPM put in place similar policies for federal workers affected by Hurricane Sandy last fall.

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Josh Hicks · May 23, 2013