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'Faith-based' insurance offered.

WASHINGTON -- Federal employees and retirees in central Illinois will be able to choose a Catholic health insurance plan billed as "faith based" for the first time in 2005. The new option for federal workers is offered by OSF HealthPlans, a for-profit insurance company that operates in conjunction with OSF HealthCare, a not-for-profit corporation owned and operated by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.

The Catholic health insurer based in Peoria, Ill., has offered an HMO plan to participants in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan since 1998, but its new option involves a high-deductible health plan with a health savings account or a health reimbursement arrangement, two choices promoted by the Bush administration to give individuals greater control over their health care spending.

The plan excludes coverage of contraceptives, abortion, sterilization and artificial insemination.

Four million federal workers will choose from among 249 health plans during the Nov. 8-Dec. 13 open enrollment period, when they decide on coverage for 2005.
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Title Annotation:U.S. Briefs
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 15, 2004
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