Q. I am three years from CSRS retirement. I’m considering canceling my Federal Employees Health Benefits plan due to my recent enrollment in the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan (a Tricare plan that does not require Medicare enrollment). The health specialist in human resources assures me that this plan counts toward being enrolled in FEHB for five years of service immediately before retirement in order to maintain eligibility to return to FEHB if necessary. All I need do is re-enroll in FEHB proper the last open season before I retire in order to actually be on FEHB on the day I retire. At that point, I can then suspend my enrollment with eligibility to return to FEHB. I am told to use reason code 1P on Standard Form 2809 to do this. I do not see where any of the bullets under reason 1P specifically address my situation. I am not on Medicare and I retired under Chapter 67, Title 10 several years ago. The last two bullets do not apply. Do I keep my eligibility to maintain FEHB into retirement under the five-year rule?
A. Although I was sure that what your HR person told you was correct, I went to the Office of Personnel Management for confirmation. Here’s what they had to say: “Tricare counts as time toward meeting the FEHB Program five-year continuous enrollment requirement for eligibility to continue enrollment into retirement. Event 1P on the SF 2809 is the permissible event based on the employee’s statement that he recently enrolled in the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan. He must make sure that his re-enrollment under the FEHB Program is effective before his annuity commencement date in order to be considered enrolled under the FEHB on the date of retirement.”