[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 3 (Monday, January 6, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 531-532]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-31506]


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OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR Parts 890 and 894

RIN 3206-AM97


Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and Federal Employees 
Dental and Vision Insurance Program: Eligibility for Pathways Programs 
Participants

AGENCY: U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Interim Final Rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing an 
interim final regulation to update the Federal Employees Health 
Benefits Program (FEHBP) and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision 
Insurance Program (FEDVIP) regulations to reflect updated election 
opportunities for participants in the Pathways Programs. The Pathways 
Programs were created by Executive Order (E.O.) 13562, signed by the 
President on December 27, 2010, and are designed to enable the Federal 
Government to compete effectively for students and recent graduates by 
improving its recruitment efforts through internships and similar 
programs with Federal agencies. This interim final rule furthers these 
recruitment and retention efforts by providing health insurance, as 
well as dental and vision benefits, to eligible program participants 
and their families.

DATES: This interim final rule is effective February 5, 2014. Comments 
are due on or before March 7, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ronald Brown, Policy Analyst, 
(202)606-0004, or by email to Ronald.Brown@opm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Pathways Programs offer clear paths to 
civil service careers for recent graduates and provide meaningful 
training, mentoring, and career-development opportunities through 
internships and similar programs with Federal Government agencies. This 
interim final rule updates 5 CFR 890.303 and 5 CFR 894.302 to allow 
election opportunities for participants in these programs as authorized 
by the final rule: ``Excepted Service, Career and Career-Conditional 
Employment; and Pathways Programs,'' 77 FR 28193 (May 11, 2012). 
Accordingly, to provide essential healthcare benefits, and dental and 
vision benefits, and to further the recruitment and retention of talent 
by Federal agencies, OPM is issuing this rule to allow Pathways 
Programs participants to elect FEHBP and FEDVIP benefits.

Changes

    (1) Executive Order 13562, Recruiting and Hiring Students and 
Recent Graduates, and implementing regulations provide employee 
benefits to eligible participants in the Federal Government internships 
known as the Pathways Programs. The Federal Employee Dental and Vision 
Insurance Program (FEDVIP), signed into law on December 23, 2004, 
established a dental benefits and vision benefits program for Federal 
employees, annuitants, and their eligible family members. The FEDVIP 
benefit is available to all eligible Federal employees and is a 
valuable tool to recruit and retain

[[Page 532]]

students and recent graduates by allowing talented employees to 
participate in Government internships and similar programs. Similarly, 
eligibility to enroll in health benefits is a valuable tool that can be 
used as part of an overall plan to attract students and recent 
graduates interested in Federal careers and to successfully recruit and 
retain them. Accordingly, OPM is proposing to amend the existing 
Federal regulations to clarify that eligible employees in the Pathways 
Programs are eligible to elect FEDVIP benefits. Also, we are proposing 
to amend the FEHBP rules to clarify that Pathways Programs interns are 
eligible to elect FEHBP enrollment pursuant to authorities contained in 
Schedule D of the excepted service, a new schedule created by E.O. 
13562 to make necessary exceptions to the competitive hiring rules. 
These changes can be found in 5 CFR 894.302(f) and 5 CFR 890.303(e)(2).

Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking

    OPM has determined that it would be impracticable, unnecessary, and 
contrary to the public interest to delay putting the provisions of this 
interim final regulation in place until a public notice and comment 
process has been completed. Under section 553(b) of the Administrative 
Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.), a general notice of 
proposed rulemaking is not required when an agency, for good cause, 
finds that notice and public comment thereon are impracticable, 
unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. The expanded FEDVIP 
elections authorized by the Pathways Programs final rule require 
immediate implementation to protect available election opportunities 
for employees and their eligible dependents.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities because the regulation 
only affects health insurance benefits of Federal employees and 
retirees.

Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Review

    This rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget 
in accordance with Executive Order 12866.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Parts 890 and 894

    Administrative practice and procedure, Government employees, Health 
insurance, Retirement.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Katherine Archuleta,
Director.
    Accordingly, the Office of Personnel Management is amending 5 CFR 
chapter I as follows:

PART 890--FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM

0
1. The authority citation for part 890 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 8913; Sec. 890.301 also issued under sec. 
311 of Pub. L. 111-3, 123 Stat. 64; Sec. 890.111 also issued under 
section 1622(b) of Pub. L. 104-106, 110 Stat. 521; Sec. 890.112 also 
issued under section 1 of Pub. L. 110-279, 122 Stat. 2604; Sec. 
890.803 also issued under 50 U.S.C. 403p, 22 U.S.C. 4069c and 4069c-
1; subpart L also issued under sec. 599C of Pub. L. 101-513, 104 
Stat. 2064, as amended; Sec. 890.102 also issued under sections 
11202(f), 11232(e), 11246(b) and (c) of Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 
251; and section 721 of Pub. L. 105-261, 112 Stat. 2061.

Subpart C--Enrollment

0
2. In Sec.  890.303, revise paragraph (e)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  890.303  Continuation of enrollment.

* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (2) However, in the case of an employee who is employed under an 
OPM approved career-related work-study program under Schedule D of at 
least one year's duration and who is expected to be in a pay status 
during not less than one-third of the total period of time from the 
date of the first appointment to the completion of the work-study 
program, his/her enrollment continues while he/she is in nonpay status 
so long as he/she is participating in the work-study program.
* * * * *

PART 894--FEDERAL EMPLOYEES DENTAL AND VISION INSURANCE PROGRAM

0
3. The authority citation for part 894 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 8962; 5 U.S.C. 8992; Subpart C also issued 
under section 1 of Pub. L. 110-279, 122 Stat. 2604.

Subpart C--Eligibility

0
4. In Sec.  894.302, paragraph (f) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  894.302(f)  What is an excluded position?

* * * * *
    (f) Expected to work fewer than six months in each year. Exception: 
you are eligible if you receive an appointment of at least one year's 
duration as an Intern under Sec.  213.3402(a) of this chapter. To 
qualify, you must be expected to be in a pay status for at least one-
third of the total period of time from the date of the first 
appointment to the completion of the work-study program.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2013-31506 Filed 1-3-14; 8:45 am]
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