Friday, January 02, 2009

FDIC announces domestic partner program

I hope that everyone had a wonderful time ringing in the new year and that regardless of how your 2008 was, that 2009 is even better.

I heard some positive, though agency-specific, news about the FDIC. They have developed a domestic partner program that will allow, among other things, the employee to get insurance for his or her partner. It is my hope that this will help pave the way for similar (and dare I say, better) programs for the foreign service.

You can read the announcement below.

For information regarding this message contact the Benefits Hotline
OIG Employees should contact the OIG Human Resources Branch at 703-562-6419

Through the extended efforts of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), the Chairman’s Diversity Advisory Committee (CDAC), and the Chairman’s Culture Change Initiative, the FDIC has developed and received Board approval to implement a Domestic Partner Program. This new program will enable eligible employees to cover their same sex or opposite sex domestic partners and/or the domestic partner’s children for certain FDIC health-related and life insurance benefits as well as coverage under provisions of the FDIC Relocation Travel Program and FDIC Business Travel Accident Insurance Program when the domestic partnership meets certain requirements. The FDIC has negotiated the provisions and reached an agreement with the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) on this program for bargaining unit employees. In addition, FDIC management has extended the terms and conditions of this program to cover all non-bargaining unit employees.

Details about the FDIC Domestic Partner Program can be viewed on the Domestic Partner Program web page.

Domestic Partner Benefits Available During Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment for certain FDIC benefits extended to domestic partners begins immediately and will coincide with the Benefits Open Enrollment Period that is underway and continues through Monday, December 8th. Additionally, employees with domestic partners who have not made their benefits elections through by the end of Open Enrollment and who still want to opt into the Domestic Partner Program will be able to do so by calling the FDIC Benefits Hotline beginning December 9th through December 15th to complete their enrollment outside of the system with the assistance of an FDIC Benefits Hotline agent. This call-in process is not available until December 9th and is available only if the employee is enrolling under the Domestic Partner Program.

Eligible employees may cover a domestic partner and/or the domestic partner’s eligible dependent children under the following FDIC benefits:

· FDIC Dental Insurance
· FDIC Vision Insurance
· FDIC Dependent Life Insurance (FDIC Option 2, Spouse/Domestic Partner Life Insurance, and FDIC Option 3, Family Life Insurance)
· Health Insurance Premium Reimbursement – a reimbursement to the employee for a portion of the premium cost for non-subsidized health insurance on the domestic partner and/or the domestic partner’s eligible dependent children.

Enrollment for domestic partner benefits is performed through as an integral part of an employee’s open enrollment for FDIC benefits. When an employee enrolls for one or more domestic partner benefits, the election(s) will be pended and the employee will be sent a Declaration of Domestic Partnership form via a e-mail. The employee and the employee’s domestic partner must complete and sign this form and return it as instructed. Domestic partner benefits elections will become effective on the later of January 1, 2009, or the first day of the first pay period after receipt of a completed Declaration acceptable to FDIC.

FDIC Relocation Travel Program and FDIC Business Travel Accident Insurance

The provisions of the FDIC Relocation Travel Program and the FDIC Business Travel Accident Insurance Program are extended to an eligible employee’s domestic partner and the domestic partner’s eligible, dependent children on the same basis as a spouse and the employee’s eligible children. The employee and the employee’s domestic partner must complete a Declaration of Domestic Partnership to be eligible to participate in these Programs. The Declaration form that is submitted for benefits enrollment through can also be used for these purposes.

Tax Implications of Domestic Partner Benefits

There are tax implications associated with domestic partner benefits. Employees are encouraged to seek the guidance of a tax advisor if they are considering enrolling under the FDIC Domestic Partner Program.

Briefly, under Federal law, if a domestic partner and/or the domestic partner’s eligible dependent children do not qualify as the employee’s tax dependent for health coverage purposes, then the portion of the employee premium for the domestic partner’s/children’s FDIC Dental and/or Vision coverage must be paid on a post-tax basis. Furthermore, the value of that coverage is considered imputed income subject to taxation, less any post-tax premiums that the employee pays for that coverage.

Similarly, the Health Insurance Premium Reimbursement (HIPR) is taxable income from which applicable taxes will be withheld. See the Domestic Partner Program web page for examples of post-tax premium and imputed income calculations for various options and coverage levels under the FDIC Dental and Vision Plans and for a HIPR worksheet to calculate the reimbursable portion of non-subsidized health insurance premiums for a domestic partner’s/children’s coverage prior to tax withholding.

Reservation of Rights

The FDIC may terminate the Domestic Partner Program or may modify, amend or change the provisions, terms, and conditions of the Program at any time, subject to fulfillment of bargaining obligations with the NTEU.

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