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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

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Federal Employees Health Benefits Program

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions About Continuing FEHB Coverage into Retirement

A. To continue your health benefits enrollment into retirement, you must: (1) have retired on an immediate annuity (that is, an annuity which begins to accrue no later than one month after the date of your final separation); and (2) have been continuously enrolled (or covered as a family member) in any FEHB Program plan (not necessarily the same plan) for the five years of service immediately preceding retirement, or if less than five years, for all service since your first opportunity to enroll.

A. You must request a waiver of the five-year requirement from OPM. The steps you must take are given in the FEHB Handbook at - Waiver of 5-Year Enrollment Requirement. If your agency has buyout authority, you may not need to write to the OPM. If you think you might qualify for a waiver of the 5-year coverage requirement, contact your Human Resources Office for information. If you meet the requirements, your agency will attach a memorandum to your retirement application stating that you meet the requirements for waiver by the OPM.

A. Your Human Resources Office will compile your health benefits records and forward them to OPM along with your retirement application and other records. OPM will review your health benefits records to determine if you are eligible to continue your FEHB enrollment into retirement. If you are eligible, OPM will process a transfer-in action and forward you a copy of this action for your records.

A. You will be covered only for emergency care. Unless your HMO has a "reciprocity" agreement with a plan in your new area that allows you to get routine care, you must travel back to your HMO for care, or change plans. You can change plans anytime after moving; contact your retirement system.

A. No, you will pay the same premium as you paid while you were an employee. However, annuitants are paid on a monthly basis so you will pay them at the monthly rate. You may see an increase if you are employed by an agency, such as the Post Office, that contributes additional money towards the total premium. Retirees receive the same government contribution as most Federal employees.

A. When you retire, you are entitled to the full government contribution.

A. No, you do not have to be enrolled in a family plan for the five years before you retire to meet the five-year requirement. As a retiree, you can enroll in a family plan during the open season or when an event occurs that permits a change to the family plan.

A. Yes, you will be able to reenroll in the future because you are canceling your enrollment to be covered by another FEHB enrollment.