Q. I am making plans to retire at the end of this year. I am eligible for Tricare, and I have been enrolled in a Federal Employees Health Benefits plan or Tricare my entire career. I was enrolled in Tricare Prime last year, but I enrolled in an FEHB plan this year to be able to carry FEHB into retirement. However, I would like to “suspend” FEHB as soon after retirement as possible to take advantage of the less expensive Tricare Prime option. I am assuming I will not have to wait until open season to suspend my FEHB coverage. If that assumption is correct, and if I retire on Dec. 31, 2012, how soon after Jan. 1, 2013, can I suspend my FEHB coverage, and what “Qualifying Life Event” code do I use on the SF 2809 once I become an annuitant?
A. You can suspend your FEHB coverage at any time after you have retired. Just call OPM’s Retirement Information Office at 888-767-6738, and ask them to send you a suspension form. You can submit it during the period beginning 31 days before and ending 31 days after the date you designate as using Tricare instead of FEHB coverage. The suspension will become effective at the end of the day before the day you designated. If you don’t designate a day, the suspension will be effective at the end of the month in which OPM receives your application.