Health care plans


Q: I am retired military and also a DoD civilian under FERS. I use Tricare as my health insurance. When I retire, I would like to also have FEHB as a “backup” to Tricare, just in case something changes with Tricare. Do I have to have FEHB for five years prior to my retirement or can I get FEHB at any time once I retire? Also, can I include my family with FEHB coverage after retirement, even if they are not covered now?

A: To carry FEHB coverage into retirement, you would have to be enrolled in it before you retire, and the combination of Tricare and FEHB would have to add up to at least five continuous years of coverage. If you are enrolled in the FEHB program as a retiree, you can change your coverage from self only to self and family during any open season. If you aren’t enrolled when you retire, you cannot enroll at a later date.


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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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