Switching to FEHB


Q. I am a 59-year-old with 26 years with the federal government. I am a 20/20/20 former spouse also (not remarried). I have not been enrolled in a Federal Employees Health Benefits plan because I am covered under Tricare. I planning on retiring in December 2012 at age 61, with 27 years in federal service. I would like to enroll in an FEHB plan this year during open season. I would like to have the option to use Tricare until I am 65 and then be able to use my FEHB plan rather than use Tricare for Life.

When I renew my military spouse ID card, I have to sign a statement that I am not enrolled in an employee-sponsored heath care plan. Can I enroll in the FEHB plan and choose not to use it until a later date?

I also understand that if you have Tricare, you don’t have to have the FEHB plan for five years before you retire and only need to have it for one year.

Please help me find the answers or direct me to the right people. I have talked to Tricare and the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, and they don’t seem to have the answer.

A. Coverage under Tricare will count as meeting the five-year requirement to carry FEHB coverage into retirement as long as you are enrolled in an FEHB plan when you retire. You could do that during the next open season. While I’m not aware that your enrollment in the FEHB would alter your entitlement to coverage under Tricare, Tricare is a military program that falls outside the borders of this forum.


About Author

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

Leave A Reply