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NEWS FROM NARFE

Government shutdown unnecessarily interrupts federal services, harms federal employees and the economy
NARFE
"I am deeply disappointed in Congress' decision to allow politics to trump the best interests of the American people," said Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), in an Oct. 1 statement. "Today, in communities across our country, vital federal services are being interrupted and hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been told to stay home without pay because Congress has failed to carry out the most basic of its constitutionally mandated duties.

"It seems that even the most routine functions of our government are now susceptible to political gamesmanship. But for many middle-class federal employees, who have already endured furloughs this summer and a freeze on their pay for more than 1,000 days, this grandstanding by Congress is far from a game. Although the current debate in Congress is centered around the Affordable Care Act, the consequences of inaction go far beyond that law, causing unnecessary hardship for hundreds of thousands of federal employees.

"We urge the Senate and House to do what is right for the country and stop playing politics with people's lives," continued Beaudoin. "America's federal workers remain ready to serve and protect our nation — but first they need Congress to authorize them to do their jobs."

NARFE notes that federal retirees will continue to receive their annuity payments during the shutdown.
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2014 premiums in FEHBP to rise 3.7 percent on average
NARFE
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), after negotiations with participating insurance carriers, announced the average premium in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) will increase 3.7 percent in 2014. The average increase to nonpostal employees and all retirees is 4.4 percent. The average premium increase for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP) will be under 1 percent for dental coverage, while average premiums for vision benefits will decrease by 1.3 percent. Nearly one million federal retirees are enrolled in the FEHBP's Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard option, where the self-only monthly premium will rise $4.14 to $190.28; if enrolled in family coverage, the monthly premium will rise $10.49 to $444.12.

The 2013 Open Season for health, dental and vision insurance and flexible spending accounts will be held from Nov. 11 through Dec. 9. NARFE members, like all enrollees, should review the benefits and premiums for their health plan choices and decide what coverage best fits their health care needs in the coming year. Specific premium information is available on the OPM website. The gateway for health plans is: http://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/plan-information/premiums/#url=Premiums. To access FEDVIP use: http://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/dental-vision/plan-information/#url=Premiums.

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FEDERAL BENEFITS QUESTION OF THE WEEK


Part-time change
NARFE
Question: I am a full-time employee and would like to change to part-time status for about one year. What will happen to my benefits under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), leave accrual and retirement if I make this change?
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FEDERAL UPDATE


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Government starts shutting down
The Charlotte Observer
The U.S. government started shutting down early Tuesday, Oct. 1, after a bitter fight over the new health care law deadlocked the Congress and stymied every attempt to keep money flowing after the federal fiscal year ended at midnight.
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Shutdown Q and A: Federal retirement benefits
The Washington Post
This article highlights some questions and answers about the shutdown's impact on federal retirement.
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'Nonessential' label is upsetting to federal workers
The Washington Post
What's in a word? Plenty, if you're a federal employee and the word is "nonessential." That's the term commonly, although not officially, used for employees who would be furloughed in a partial government shutdown, such as the one currently threatened by the deadlock over funding for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
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USPS says overhauling health benefits key to postal reform
Federal News Radio
The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service says it can return to being profitable and begin to pay down its debt if Congress gives it the authority to overhaul its health benefits structure.
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TSP is having a 'booming' September
Government Executive
The government's 401(k)-style retirement plan is on track to yield a lucrative September for federal enrollees. The Thrift Savings Plan has been “booming” this month, said Tracey Ray, chief investment officer of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, during the agency's monthly board meeting.
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FINANCES


In search of tax-friendly states for retirees
The Times of Trenton
For many retirees, retirement is a bit more challenging than they thought. Interest rates have been low, investment returns have been volatile and health-care costs are on the rise. There simply isn’t any room for excessive taxes in the retirement equation.
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HEALTH


Global survey: 1 in 4 people don't know how much they walk each day
ScienceDaily
More than a quarter of people who took part in a new multi-country survey said they did not know how much time they spent briskly walking at a speed faster than normal. As the World Health Organization reports that global levels of physical activity are declining, the six-country survey reveals that between 14 and 37 percent of adults don't pay any attention to one of the simplest things most of us can do to protect our heart health — walking.
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SECOND CAREERS


The rise of semi-retirement
U.S. News & World Report
Switching directly from a full-time job that consumes most of your waking hours to retirement can be a very abrupt change. More than a third of working Americans say they would like to semi-retire, or cut back their hours, before retiring completely, according to a recent HSBC and Cicero Group survey. Workers have both personal and financial reasons for preferring to gradually transition into their retirement years.
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TRAVEL


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7 ways to travel smarter, cheaper and more often
Forbes
Fall travel season is here, offering endless possibilities for your next trip. One fringe benefit of not having to work around school schedules is getting to hit the road on less crowded highways — and in airports, on planes and at attractions.
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CONSUMER TIPS


Banks recruited to stop scams on seniors
USA Today
Just one year ago, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that it could not find any federal requirements for banks to train tellers and others to spot or report elder financial exploitation. To be sure, many banks and credit unions try to prevent such fraud through various efforts. But increasingly, banks are being told that their employees are part of the solution on the front lines to stopping financial abuse.
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NARFE NewsWatch from the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association
Disclaimer: The articles that appear in NARFE NewsWatch are chosen from a variety of sources to reflect topics of interest to active and retired federal employees. With the exception of Federal Benefits Question of the Week and News From NARFE, an article's inclusion in NARFE NewsWatch does not imply that the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) endorses, supports or verifies its contents or expressed opinions. Factual errors are the responsibility of the listed publication.

Colby Horton, vice president of publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
Caleb Gremmer, content editor, 469.420.2648   Contribute news
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