Federal workers may have to pay dental, vision coverage during shutdown, but not for two more weeks

They’re not getting paid, but now 800,000 federal employees, either working without pay or on furlough due to the partial government shutdown, may be receiving a shock their mailboxes.

They could be getting bills for their vision and dental insurance premiums, The Washington Post reported.

Workers received notice Wednesday that if they don't submit payment for the lapsed premiums during the shutdown, they could lose the coverage, the Post reported.

The coverage is voluntary for federal employees who can decide to enroll in either, or both vision and dental benefits or decline coverage.

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Health insurance benefits are not affected and will remain active, despite workers not getting their paychecks, NPR reported earlier this month. The accumulated premiums will be deducted from their pay once the government reopens, NPR reported.

If the government remains closed for another two weeks resulting in a third missed pay, the long-term care insurance will be billed directly to federal employees, according to the Post.

If employees decide not to pay the premiums, coverage will end and they may not be able to sign up when the government reopens and could have to wait until mid-November's enrollment period, according to the Post.

Some lawmakers are asking the Office of Personnel Management to work with insurance providers for "alternative payment arrangements," the Post reported.

TSA employee Princess Young, center, loads food into a car after visiting a food pantry for furloughed government workers affected by the federal shutdown, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in Baltimore.

Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

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Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

OPM announced Thursday that furloughed employees, and those federal employees working without pay, will have an additional pay period before they receive bills for their dental and vision coverage, the Post reported Thursday afternoon.