Health insurance for spouse


Q. I am currently enrolled in a federal self-only, health care insurance plan. I plan to retire in about three years. I know that in most cases I have to be enrolled for at least five years to continue my coverage into retirement. (I will have been.) Do I need to be enrolled in a plan that covers my spouse for at least five years before retirement in order for her to receive coverage after my retirement? If no, what would the deadline be, if any, for enrolling in a plan that covers her if I want her to have federal health insurance benefits sometime during my retirement years — no deadline, before I retire, within 30 days after retirement, etc.?

A. You may change your FEHB enrollment from self only to self and family during any open season. While you need to be enrolled in the FEHB program for the five consecutive years before retirement, your spouse or other dependents don’t.


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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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