Changing from family to self coverage


Q: I have more than 30 years of employment with the federal government and plan to retire under the Civil Service Retirement System in about three years, at which point I will elect survivor benefits. For the past five years, I’ve elected a family Federal Employees Health Benefits plan to include my wife. My wife has more than three years of employment with the federal government and plans to retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System in about four years. We are both thinking about switching from family coverage to self-only coverage. If my wife retires with self-only coverage after four years of service (not five years), will she be able to carry her self-only FEHB plan into retirement, or will I have to elect a family coverage plan prior to her retirement?

A: As long as she was covered continuously for five years under a combination of your self and family option or her self-only enrollment, she can carry that coverage into retirement.


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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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