Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Tierney and Cummings Seek Administration Help on Legislation to Save Taxpayers Billions on Defense Base Act Insurance

“IT”S TIME TO FIX THIS PROGRAM”

Washington, DC (Sept. 11, 2012)— September 17, 2012

Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. John F. Tierney, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget requesting support for, and input on, H.R. 5891, The Defense Base Act Insurance Improvement Act of 2012.

“This is a common-sense bill that would save the American taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Tierney. “Numerous government audits have concluded that we are paying too much for workers’ compensation insurance for overseas government contractors, and that these workers aren’t getting what they deserve. It’s time to fix this program.”

The legislation would transition the existing Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance program to a government self-insurance program. According to a 2009 Pentagon study, this change could save as much as $250 million a year. The study found: “In the long run, the self-insurance alternative may have the greatest potential for minimizing DBA insurance costs, and it has several administrative and compliance advantages as well.”

“We are sponsoring this legislation because several audits of the current DBA program have documented enormous unnecessary costs incurred by taxpayers,” Cummings and Tierney wrote.

The existing system has been a boondoggle for private insurance companies, which have reaped enormous profits under the program. According to an Oversight Committee investigation, insurance companies providing DBA insurance in Iraq and Afghanistan have made enormous underwriting profits that are significantly higher than those of traditional workers’ compensation insurers.

The letter from Tierney and Cummings requests support for the legislation and notes that “OMB may be evaluating similar options.”

September 18, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractors Kidnapped, Contractors Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, Follow the Money, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cummings Introduces Legislation to Reform Defense Base Act Insurance Program

Crossposted from The Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

In addition to cost concerns, the current system has failed to ensure that all injured workers obtain health care services, disability payments, or death benefits they and their families deserve

‘There is absolutely no reason American taxpayers should be lining the pockets of private insurance companies,” said Cummings. “This bill would save billions of dollars while improving the ability of contractor employees who risk their lives in war zones to obtain the medical care and support they deserve.”

Committee on Government and Oversight Reform  June 6, 2012

Washington, DC (June 6, 2012) —Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced legislation today that would save taxpayers huge sums of money by transitioning the existing workers’ compensation insurance system for overseas government contractors away from private sector insurance companies to a federal self-insurance program.

“There is absolutely no reason American taxpayers should be lining the pockets of private insurance companies,” said Cummings. “This bill would save billions of dollars while improving the ability of contractor employees who risk their lives in war zones to obtain the medical care and support they deserve.”

According to a 2009 Pentagon study, Congress could save as much as $250 million a year by transitioning the existing Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance program to a government self-insurance program. The study found: “In the long run, the self-insurance alternative may have the greatest potential for minimizing DBA insurance costs, and it has several administrative and compliance advantages as well.”

Cummings’s legislation, H.R. 5891, The Defense Base Act Insurance Improvement Act of 2012, would direct the Departments of Defense and Labor to establish a self-insurance program in which the government would pay directly for medical benefits and disability benefits rather than utilizing private insurance companies.

The existing system has been a boondoggle for private insurance companies, who have reaped enormous profits under the program. According to an Oversight Committee investigation, insurance companies providing DBA insurance in Iraq and Afghanistan have made enormous underwriting profits that are significantly higher than those of traditional workers’ compensation insurers.

The current DBA system requires contractors to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for employees working overseas from private insurance carriers, and the contractors and insurance companies negotiate their own rates. Since the costs of the insurance premiums are often built into the price of the contract with the government, there is little incentive for contractors to limit insurance costs.

Cummings’s bill would set a six month deadline for the Departments of Defense and Labor to develop an implementation strategy to transition to a self-insurance program, and it would require the strategy to be executed within a year after the bill is enacted.

The legislation would also require the Departments of Defense and Labor to issue a report one year after the program is implemented to assess its effectiveness in terms of cost-savings and the delivery of benefits.

In addition to cost concerns, the current system has failed to ensure that all injured workers obtain health care services, disability payments, or death benefits they and their families deserve. An analysis by ProPublica found that private insurance companies had denied about 44% of serious injury claims and about 60% of claims by employees suffering psychological damage such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

At the request of Congressman Cummings, the Domestic Policy Subcommittee held a hearing in 2009 to evaluate these findings, which confirmed that the Defense Base Act is in desperate need of reform.

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, Follow the Money | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill would give U.S. flag to families of federal workers killed on job

Joe Davidson The Washington Post   June 29, 2011

With Congress considering so many ways to make the lives of federal employees more difficult, even small, symbolic efforts to recognize them are notable, even when they’re dead.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has approved legislation that would allow agencies to present an American flag to the families of federal employees who are killed while on duty or because of their status as a government employee.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the committee, said he was pleased the panel considered the Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011, “especially since they received so much negative attention and criticism recently for simply doing their jobs.”

The bill stands in contrast to unrelated proposals that would extend the federal pay freeze, make employees pay more for health and retirement benefits, cut the federal workforce and allow workers to be fired if they are seriously behind on their federal taxes.

Please read the entire article here

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Casualties, Department of Defense, State Department | , , , | Leave a comment