The Trump administration continues to price federal employees and their families out of health insurance coverage, announcing Oct. 2 that it is shifting yet more of the cost of its expensive health insurance program onto its workforce.
While agencies will pay just 3.2% more on average toward their share of premiums, federal workers will pay a whopping 5.6% more.
To compound the pain, the administration will begin reducing its share of health insurance premiums for newly hired Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) whose schedules are limited to 32 hours a week.
“The Trump administration has failed to do its job of providing affordable health insurance to its workforce. Shifting more health-care costs onto federal workers and retirees will force growing numbers to choose between keeping their health insurance or paying for rent and other costs of daily living,” AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. said.
Premiums overall will rise 4% on average next year.
TSA part-timers to pay even more -- even if they work 32 hours per week
In addition to low pay and a perpetual threat of a government shutdown, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is making the agency even less appealing to Americans by cutting health care benefits.
A policy change issued Sept. 20 by TSA will increase premiums for TSOs hired part-time on or after Oct. 1.
Previously TSA paid the same share of premiums for full-time and part-time officers, which eased the financial burden on these already inadequately paid workers. Now part-time officers, who account for roughly 20% of TSA’s screener workforce, will pay a greater percentage of the premiums – and their share will rise depending upon how many hours they are able to work. TSA defines part-time employment as 32 hours or fewer per week.
“Earlier this year, TSA employees demonstrated their loyalty to this country by showing up for work unpaid for 35 consecutive days during the longest ever government shutdown – keeping the flying public safe while their own financial security was in jeopardy,” Cox said. “And this is how this administration repays them – by cutting such a critical component of their meager compensation.”
TSA was able to reduce its share of health insurance premiums by enforcing the very management flexibilities Congress has provided the agency.