Skip to main content


Part Number: 1609

Federal Employee Health Benefits Acquisition Regulation



Subpart 1609.4—Debarment, Suspension, and Ineligibility

Source: 59 FR 14764, Mar. 30, 1994, unless otherwise noted.

1609.470 Notification of Debarment, Suspension, and Ineligibility.

(FAR) 48 CFR, part 9, subpart 9.4 is supplemented as set out in the certification required in 1609.471 by converting the FAR “offeror's” certification at (FAR) 48 CFR 52.209–5 into a carrier's certification. This change reflects the FEHBP's statutory exemption from competitive bidding (5 U.S.C. 8902), which obviates the issuance of solicitations.

1609.471 Contractor certification.

All FEHBP carriers and applicant carriers are required to submit the following certification. Applicant carriers must submit the certification prior to OPM's determination on the application for approval to participate in the FEHBP. Current carriers must submit the certification once, along with their benefit and rate proposals for the 1995 contract year.

Debarment, Suspension, Proposed Debarment, and Other Responsibility Matters

The Carrier certifies, to the best of its knowledge and belief, that—

(a) The Carrier and/or any of its Principals—

(1) Are ( ) are not ( ) presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, or declared ineligible for the award of contracts by any Federal agency;

(2) Have ( ) have not ( ), within a 3-year period preceding this certification, been convicted of or had a civil judgment rendered against them for: Commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain, or performing a public (Federal, state, or local) contract or subcontract; violation of Federal or state antitrust statutes relating to the submission of offers; or commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property; and

(3) Are ( ) are not ( ) presently indicted for, or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity with, commission of any of the offenses enumerated in subdivision (a)(2) of this clause.

(4) The Carrier has ( ) has not ( ), within a 3-year period preceding this certification, had one or more contracts terminated for default by any Federal agency.

(b) Principals, for the purposes of this certification, means officers; directors; owners; partners; and persons having primary management or supervisory responsibilities within a business entity (e.g., general manager; plant manager; head of a subsidiary, division, or business segment, and similar positions).

This certification concerns a matter within the jurisdiction of an agency of the United States and the making of a false, fictitious, or fraudulent certification may render the Carrier subject to prosecution under section 1001, title 18, United States Code.

(c) The Carrier shall provide immediate written notice to the Contracting Officer if, at any time, the Carrier learns that its certification was erroneous when submitted or has become erroneous by reason of changed circumstances.

(d) A Carrier's certification that any of the actions mentioned in the certification exists will not necessarily result in termination of the contract. However, the certification, or the Carrier's failure to provide such additional information as requested by the Contracting Officer, will be considered in connection with a determination of the Carrier's responsibility under subpart 1609.70, Minimum Standards for Health Benefits Carriers.

(e) Nothing contained in the certification shall be construed to require establishment of a system of records in order to render, in good faith, the certification required by this section. The knowledge and information of the Carrier is not required to exceed that which is normally possessed by a prudent person in the ordinary course of business dealings.

(f) The certification in this section is a material representation of fact upon which reliance is placed by the Contracting Officer. If it is later determined that the Carrier knowingly rendered an erroneous certification, in addition to other remedies available to the Government, the Contracting Officer may terminate the contract for default.

Carrier Name:

Name of Chief Executive Officer

Date signed:

(End of certificate)

Subpart 1609.70—Minimum Standards for Health Benefits Carriers

1609.7001 Minimum standards for health benefits carriers.

(a) The carrier of an approved health benefits plan shall meet the requirements of chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code; part 890 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations; chapter 1 of title 48, Code of Federal Regulations, and the following standards. The carrier shall continue to meet the requirements of chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, and the standards cited in this paragraph while under contract with OPM. Failure to meet these requirements and standards is cause for OPM's withdrawal of approval of the health benefits carrier and termination of the contract in accordance with 5 CFR 890.204.

(1) It must be lawfully engaged in the business of supplying health benefits.

(2) It must have, in the judgement of OPM, the financial resources and experience in the field of health benefits to carry out its obligations under the plan.

(3) It must keep such reasonable financial and statistical records, and furnish such reasonable financial and statistical reports with respect to the plan, as may be requested by OPM.

(4) It must permit representatives of OPM and of the General Accounting Office to audit and examine its records and accounts which pertain, directly or indirectly, to the plan at such reasonable times and places as may be designated by OPM or the General Accounting Office.

(5) It must accept, subject to adjustment for error or fraud, in payment of its charges for health benefits for all enrollees in its plan, the enrollment charges received by the Employees Health Benefits (EHB) Fund less amounts set aside for the administrative and contingency reserves prescribed in 5 CFR 890.503. OPM makes available or pays the amounts within 30 days of receipt by the EHB Fund.

(6) A carrier that is an employee organization must continue coverage, without requirement of membership, of any eligible survivor annuitants, former spouses continuing coverage with the carrier under 5 CFR 890.803, children temporarily continuing coverage with the carrier under 5 CFR 890.1103(a)(2), or former spouses temporarily continuing coverage with the carrier under 5 CFR 890.1103(a)(3).

(7) It must timely submit to OPM a properly completed and signed novation or change-of-name agreement in accordance with subpart 1642.12 of this chapter.

(b) In addition to the standards in paragraph (a) of this section, the carrier must perform the contract in accordance with prudent business practices. A carrier's sustained poor business practice in the management or administration of a health benefits plan is cause for OPM's withdrawal of approval of the health benefits carrier and termination of the carrier's contract. Prudent business practices include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Timely compliance with OPM instructions and directives.

(2) Legal and ethical business and health care practices.

(3) Compliance with the terms of the FEHB contract, regulations and statutes.

(4) Timely and accurate adjudication of claims or rendering of medical services.

(5) A system for accounting for costs incurred under the contract, when required, which includes segregating and pricing FEHB medical utilization and allocating indirect and administrative costs in a reasonable and equitable manner.

(6) Accurate accounting reports of actual, allowable, allocable, and reasonable costs incurred in the administration of the contract.

(7) Application of performance standards for assuring contract quality as required by 1646.270(d).

(8) Establishment and maintenance of a system of internal control that provides reasonable assurance that:

(i) The provision and payments of benefits and other expenses are in compliance with legal, regulatory, and contractual guidelines;

(ii) FEHB funds, property, and other assets are safeguarded against waste, loss, unauthorized use, or misappropriation; and,

(iii) Data are accurately and fairly disclosed in all reports required by OPM.

(c) The following types of activities are examples of poor business practices which adversely affect the health benefits carrier's responsibility under its contract. A pattern of poor conduct or evidence of misconduct in these areas is cause for OPM to withdraw approval of the carrier:

(1) Presenting false claims by charging expenses to the contract which according to the contract terms are not chargeable to the contract;

(2) Using fraudulent or unethical business or health care practices or otherwise displaying a lack of business integrity or honesty;

(3) Repeatedly and knowingly providing false or misleading information in the rate setting process;

(4) Repeated failure to comply with OPM instructions and directives;

(5) Having an accounting system that is incapable of separately accounting for costs incurred under the contract and/or that lacks the internal controls necessary to fulfill the terms of the contract; and

(6) Failure to assure that the plan provides properly paid or denied claims, or providing medical services which are inconsistent with standards of good medical practice.

(7) Entering into contracts or employment agreements with providers, provider groups, or health care workers that include provisions or financial incentives that directly or indirectly create an inducement to limit or restrict communication about medically necessary services to any individual covered under the FEHB Program. Financial incentives are defined as bonuses, withholds, commissions, profit sharing or other similar adjustments to basic compensation (e.g., service fee, capitation, salary) which have the effect of limiting or reducing communication about appropriate medically necessary services. Providers, health care workers, or health plan sponsoring organizations are not required to discuss treatment options that they would not ordinarily discuss in their customary course of practice because such options are inconsistent with their professional judgment or ethical, moral or religious beliefs.

(d) The Director or his or her designee will determine whether to propose withdrawal of approval and hold a hearing based on the seriousness of the carrier's actions and its proposed method to effect corrective action.

1609.7002 Minimum standards for Postal Service Health Benefits Carriers.

(a) The carrier of a PSHB plan shall meet the minimum standards as described in 1609.7001.

(b) To the greatest extent practicable, an FEHB Carrier (defined in 1602.170–1) that offers an FEHB plan (defined in 1602.170–9) in which the total enrollment includes 1,500 or more Postal Service employees or Postal Service annuitants in the contract year beginning January 2023 must offer a PSHB plan in the initial contract year. OPM may exempt a comprehensive medical plan, as described in 5 U.S.C. 8903(4), from the requirement in this paragraph (b).