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Question: Why don’t I see any attention to how the fight over the Affordable Care Act would affect federal employees?

Answer: The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) for federal workers, retirees and family members is a separate program that has existed for decades, long before enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.

With a mix of national and regional plans that must meet certain standards, the FEHBP in some ways served as the model for the insurance-policy exchanges created under the ACA. The FEHBP, for example, barred participating health insurance companies from denying coverage because of preexisting conditions long before the ACA made that a national policy.

One impact the ACA did have on the FEHBP was to allow coverage of children until they turn 26, four years beyond the prior cutoff. However, that is one part of the ACA that has not been on the table for repeal in the efforts so far, and probably won’t be if the effort is revived.

One option that was raised recently would allow private-sector workers to buy coverage through the FEHBP rather than the ACA. However, there would be many complications, and that long-standing idea has never gained traction.