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Federal Employees Benefits Q &A

Do you have questions about your federal employee CSRS or FERS pension/annuity or federal employee retirement planning? Concerns about your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account or what about federal employee pay and leave issues?

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The Q&A forum is moderated by Ed Zurndorfer -- an expert on federal employee benefits -- and a Certified Financial Planner, chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant in Maryland.

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VAer  
#1 Posted : Monday, February 25, 2019 11:05:40 AM(UTC)
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https://www.opm.gov/poli...ly-retirement-authority/

FERS: At least age 50 with at least 20 years creditable Federal service

If I decide to retire at age 50 with more than 20 years service (to run a small business or become a contractor), am I qualified to stay under FEHB right after retirement? Can I stay under the plan for lifetime? If I have spouse and she is not federal employee, and if I buy family plan when I am a federal employee, can she also stay under the family plan when I retire?

Thanks.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#2 Posted : Monday, February 25, 2019 4:49:33 PM(UTC)
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Unless there is an early out authority (VERA or a VISP) at your agency (or if you are a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or an air traffic controller), you cannot retire at age 50 with at least 20 years of service. If there is such an early retirement, then you can keep your FEHB coverage for yourself and for your spouse throughout your retirement. This assumes that you have participated in the FEHB program for at least the last five years of your federal service.
VAer  
#3 Posted : Monday, February 25, 2019 4:56:34 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Ed Zurndorfer Go to Quoted Post
Unless there is an early out authority (VERA or a VISP) at your agency (or if you are a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or an air traffic controller), you cannot retire at age 50 with at least 20 years of service. If there is such an early retirement, then you can keep your FEHB coverage for yourself and for your spouse throughout your retirement. This assumes that you have participated in the FEHB program for at least the last five years of your federal service.


Ok, thanks.

Then come with another question: If there is VERA and John retires at 50, and John does carry over FEHB family for a few months after retirement, then John starts working in private section (employer provides health insurance), so John cancels FEHB. At the age of 59, John retires again from private section, then can John re-enrolls in FEHB ? There is a break (John does not have FEHB from 50 to 59).

Thanks.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#4 Posted : Monday, February 25, 2019 5:02:10 PM(UTC)
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No, John cannot reenroll in FEHB at age 59. An annuitant who drops FEHB coverage anytime in retirement cannot reenroll in FEHB.
VAer  
#5 Posted : Monday, February 25, 2019 5:04:26 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Ed Zurndorfer Go to Quoted Post
No, John cannot reenroll in FEHB at age 59. An annuitant who drops FEHB coverage anytime in retirement cannot reenroll in FEHB.


Wow, that is bad, it merely means John needs to stay with FEHB for rest of his life, even if premium keeps going up a lot.

Ed Zurndorfer  
#6 Posted : Monday, February 25, 2019 5:10:03 PM(UTC)
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No, that is not bad. There is nothing cheaper in cost than FEHB for an annuitant. The federal government pays 72 to 75 percent of the premiums. There is no private company around that does that.
wvfed67  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, February 27, 2019 9:49:54 AM(UTC)

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Could John suspend FEHB?
Ed Zurndorfer  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, February 27, 2019 10:27:38 AM(UTC)
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No, John cannot suspend FEHB.
VAer  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, February 27, 2019 10:41:45 AM(UTC)
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Do federal retiree really need FEHB after 65 yrs old (while they will have Medicare after 65 yrs old)?

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mc0111  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, February 27, 2019 10:44:47 AM(UTC)
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I have read there is an exception if John is trying a Medicare Advantage Plan?

But I guess that wouldn't apply anyway because John isn't 65...
Ed Zurndorfer  
#11 Posted : Wednesday, February 27, 2019 12:05:33 PM(UTC)
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Yes, federal annuitants over age 65 and enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B still need to be enrolled in FEHB. If John were over age 65 and enrolled in FEHB he could suspend his FEHB coverage in order to enroll in a Medicare HMO.
thanks 1 user thanked Ed Zurndorfer for this useful post.
mc0111 on 4/5/2019(UTC)
teeeeej  
#12 Posted : Monday, July 8, 2019 3:11:27 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: VAer Go to Quoted Post
Do federal retiree really need FEHB after 65 yrs old (while they will have Medicare after 65 yrs old)?

Thanks.


FEHB is drastically cheaper than Medigap, so it would be foolish not to use FEHB.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#13 Posted : Monday, July 8, 2019 6:22:16 PM(UTC)
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Thank you for your input into this forum.
nightstalker2  
#14 Posted : Thursday, August 15, 2019 9:42:47 PM(UTC)
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what if you're a veteran and now not yet 62 but now you must apply for medicare with wife and kids to follow?
Ed Zurndorfer  
#15 Posted : Monday, August 19, 2019 9:11:20 AM(UTC)
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A veteran cannot get Medicare at age 62. The only individuals who are eligible for Medicare before age 65 are those individuals who are disabled and have been receiving Social Security disability payments for at least two years.
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