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Federal Employees Benefits Q &A

Do you have questions about your federal employee CSRS or FERS pension/annuity or federal employee retirement planning? Concerns about your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account or what about federal employee pay and leave issues?

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The Q&A forum is moderated by Ed Zurndorfer -- an expert on federal employee benefits -- and a Certified Financial Planner, chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant in Maryland.

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macfedworker  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, February 13, 2019 2:52:37 PM(UTC)
macfedworker

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I enrolled in the HDHP with an HSA through UnitedHealthcare last open enrollment season. This is the first HDHP I have had, and it started on 1/1/19. The brochure for the plan says that for first time enrollees in the plan, the government won't contribute the first HSA contribution until 2/10/19. However, it's now 2/13/19 and I have not had any contribution made to my HSA. United has you set up an HSA through OptumBank, which I set up last December and made sure that it's linked to my UHC account. I have tried to call OPM, my own HR (I work for DCAA), DFAS, OptumBank and UHC, and no one has been able to help me figure out where those contributions are or who actually makes those contributions. I have a family plan, so the contribution is supposed to be $125/month into my HSA. I picked the HDHP with an HSA specifically because the premium was cheaper and the $1500/year contribution from the Federal Government makes it totally worth it for me versus a traditional PPO plan. I am very frustrated and concerned as I have not seen a dollar of the promised federal contributions and I have no idea if I'm the only person on earth has had this experience. Has anyone else? If so, what did you do? Could it be because I opened my HSA in December 2018? Was that too early? Please help!!! I have a young child and without these payments from the government I am going to have a bit of trouble affording the out of pocket medical costs to meet my deductible of $3,000. Thanks!
Ed Zurndorfer  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, February 13, 2019 4:28:28 PM(UTC)
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Actually your HDHP became effective on 1/6/2019 (the first day of the new leave year) and you should have been paid (assuming you were not affected by the partial government shutdown) for the first pay period of leave year 2019 sometime during the last week of January. A part of your own FEHB premium (in addition to your agency's FEHB premium contribution of $125) should have gone into your HSA. Did any of your premiums for pay date #1 go into your HSA? If not, you need to check with your Personnel Office to find why contributions are not going into your HSA. Your Personnel Office may have to contact DFAS to find out what is holding things up.
someoldguy  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, February 13, 2019 5:02:21 PM(UTC)
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I am into my second year with an HSA through a different provider. It does take a few days for the deposits to show up in my account even though they are backdated (if that makes sense). Same with my own contributions. But it is all working now.

Incidentally, I don't think my 2018 W-2 accurately reflected the contributions. I made a 2019 contribution for tax year 2019 but I had to reduce it to make sure I stayed within the limit. These HDHP's and HSA's have been around for a few years now but it is still new to me.

The HDHP is working out well so far but it is a bit of a shock to get billed for everything! Incidentally my previous employer, a private company, offered the HDHP but did not make any employer contributions. So FEHB is ahead of the game there.
DISCLAIMER: You read it on an open internet forum :)
macfedworker  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, February 13, 2019 8:54:43 PM(UTC)
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I did not receive any contributions in my first paycheck from the employer to my HSA nor any other paycheck. I’m so confused who to contact because my personnel office doesn’t know who I should contact about the payment.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#5 Posted : Thursday, February 14, 2019 3:19:54 AM(UTC)
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Why don't you directly contact both your FEHB plan and OPM (at fehb@opm.gov) in order to hopefully find out what the problem is.
Gr8MamaB  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, February 20, 2019 7:23:14 PM(UTC)
Gr8MamaB

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I work for Post Office, also signed up for HDHP during open season. Went to refill prescription early January only to find out 1)no money for the premium pass through and 2)NOBODY knows anything about where the money comes from or even who to call about information!!

My first call was to the insurance company that I enrolled with the HDHP, they tried to tell me I didn't even have an HSA in spite of my card says HSA. They said they would send me out a different card and change it to HRA. They knew nothing about premium pass through. Then I called my HR. They knew nothing about where the premium pass through money comes from, too, but seemed to think the insurance company was the one to call (just got off phone with them). They did say I should open HSA account, which I thought was automatically done for me whenever the pass through stuff went through.

So I waited, opened the HSA account with the bank that is mentioned in my healthcare plan. Go back to HR website and sign up to make a contribution just to make certain all is set up correctly. My contribution goes through fine. Still no premium pass through dollars.

Fast forward another month, and I had today off, so had time to be on hold. ON the line with the insurance guy over an hour as he's calling office after office for me and 3 way phone call with them to track down the answer. After an hour and fifteen minutes, and still being on extended hold with my hr, he had to hang our call up and wish me luck.

The worst problem is NOWHERE is there a phone number or department or anything of who to contact about problems with the premium pass through not going through. Every time I call the health insurance company, they don't even know what a premium pass through is!! And they are sure that my HR/benefits company would be contributing to the HSA, to which my HR denies.

I had to pay out of pocket for a prescription refill due to no funds in the HSA, and now it looks like I will have to do this again. I am VERY thankful I didn't have any other health concerns during this time. Still don't know who to call, still no funds.......anybody have any help or even the same problem??
upandup  
#7 Posted : Friday, February 22, 2019 3:14:13 PM(UTC)

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The processing of so-called premium pass-through contributions is the responsibility of the plan, United HealthCare in this case. The agency and payroll provider are not involved. You may wish to contact fehb@uhc.com or (877) 696-8464 if the standard customer service is not able to resolve.

If you are making payroll contributions, then your payroll provide (DFAS in your case), would be the right POC for those contributions.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#8 Posted : Saturday, February 23, 2019 5:00:02 PM(UTC)
Ed Zurndorfer

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