B-247345, May 12, 1992

B-247345: May 12, 1992

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Black states that there is a difference of $20 that his health care plan will pay for an office visit to receive medical treatment in his local duty station area and in other locations farther away. He argues that the additional $20 he had to pay for treatment while away from his local duty station area should be considered a reimbursable travel expense because he would not have incurred it had he not been in a travel status away from his home. The costs of medical or health care or treatment for civilian government employees are personal to the employees. There is statutory authority to pay travel expenses to federal employees traveling on temporary duty. Black's claim for increased health care costs during traveling on temporary duty is denied. /1/ The matter was submitted by the Chief.

B-247345, May 12, 1992

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Temporary duty - Health insurance - Additional costs DIGEST: An employee while traveling on temporary duty may not be reimbursed the increased health care costs for medical treatment under his health insurance plan due to the employee's absence from the local duty station area.

D. Jan Black:

The Bureau of Mines, United States Department of the Interior, requests our decision whether Mr. D. Jan Black may be reimbursed the increased health care costs he incurred when he became ill during a temporary duty assignment and received treatment at a local health care facility. /1/ Mr. Black states that there is a difference of $20 that his health care plan will pay for an office visit to receive medical treatment in his local duty station area and in other locations farther away. He argues that the additional $20 he had to pay for treatment while away from his local duty station area should be considered a reimbursable travel expense because he would not have incurred it had he not been in a travel status away from his home. The claim may not be paid.

Generally, the costs of medical or health care or treatment for civilian government employees are personal to the employees, and appropriated funds may not be used to pay them, unless provided for by statute or in the contract of employment. 64 Comp.Gen. 835 (1985). The previously cited case generally describes the health service (as distinguished from health treatment) programs that the government may pay for by statute, and none include increased health treatment costs due to temporary duty.

There is statutory authority to pay travel expenses to federal employees traveling on temporary duty, and the implementing Federal Travel Regulations at 41 C.F.R. Sec. 301-12.5 provide certain transportation and per diem allowances for employees who become incapacitated due to illness while in travel status. Also section 301 9.1(e) provides that "Miscellaneous expenditures not enumerated in this section, when necessarily incurred by the traveler in connection with the transaction of official business, shall be allowed when approved." However, none of these provisions allow for the reimbursement of an employee's increased health treatment costs due to traveling on temporary duty. Steve Wilson, B-241930, Apr. 18, 1991] Nancy Wittpenn, 65 Comp.Gen. 677 (1986).

Accordingly, Mr. Black's claim for increased health care costs during traveling on temporary duty is denied.

/1/ The matter was submitted by the Chief, Accounting Operations Branch, Denver Federal Center, Bureau of Mines.

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