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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.

Zurndorfer is also the author of several federal employee benefits guides published by Federal Employees News Digest.

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Note: FederalSoup.com has attempted to compile information that is as accurate and current as possible for federal employees. Federal policies, laws, regulations, statistics and addresses continually change. Therefore, no warranties are made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this column. If additional clarification or information is needed, it is suggested that competent and professional assistance be sought. Mr. Zurndorfer does not moderate other forums on FederalSoup and will not reply to general FederalSoup inquiries submitted in this Q&A forum.

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#1 Posted : Monday, March 22, 2010 12:35:03 AM(UTC)

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 6/11/2009(UTC)
Posts: 3

I want to carry Federal Health Insurance into my retirement.  Right now I am on my husbands' public employers' BCBS health insurance.  His has lower premiums and lower co-pays. 
I am in my early fifties and plan to retire in another 9-14 years.  I know that I have to carry the insurance for at least 5 years prior to retirement, however I once saw an article about a bill that was trying to be pushed thru requiring that all federal employees carry health insurance for a minimum of 10 years before retirement or they would have to pay higher premiums and co-pays?  Also, in 2006 there was an article where DOD was cutting the "Health Care Benefits for retirees under the age of 65....DOD wants retirees under 65 to fork over more in premiums and co-pays".
So my questions are these:
1.  At what age should I start taking an additional health insurance like
an individual HDHP plan for myself, to start the clock ticking in order to qualify myself to carry health insurance into retirement for both my husband and I?  Of course I know that in my last year of federal service I will need to switch to a family plan.  If my husband retires before me (he is 3 years older) then I would have already switched to a family plan before I retire.
2. As a VA employee, do I need to be conscerned about what DOD did to employees who retired before reaching the age of 65?
Ed Zurndorfer  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, March 24, 2010 8:19:16 PM(UTC)
Ed Zurndorfer

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 9/10/2001(UTC)
Posts: 4,412

You should enroll in the FEHB al least 5 years before you retire from federal service. You need to give your husband a survivor annuity and you should add him as part of your FEHB coverage (self and family) to guarantee that in the event you predecease him, that he will be able to keep the FEHB coverage for the rest of his life. You need not be concerned about what DOD did to DOD employees who retired before age 65. This is NOT a true fact. Retiring DOD employees - like all other federal employees and retirees - pay on average 28 percent of the total FEHB premiums. The federal government pays the remaining 72 percent. 
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