Previous service won't count


Q: I am eligible for retirement unders the Civil Service Retirement System in 2012 at age 55 after 37 years of service. I carried health insurance since I began my career in 1975, until I dropped it and enrolled in my husband’s plan (not government) in the mid-1990s.  I recently found out that my spouse’s plan will only cover me after his death for one year. This year, I enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) because of the five-year rule, and now I have to work some additional years after 2012 to account for this. My question is, since I already carried coverage for more than five years (1975-mid-1990s), will that constitute a part of the five-year coverage into retirement, or does the coverage have to be five years right before I retire? I would hope that since I previously carried FEHBP that I can still retire in 2012.

A: Unfortunately, your prior FEHBP coverage won’t count. The law requires that you be covered continuously for the five years before you retire.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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