Q. My agency is going to offer early outs this fiscal year, and I want to take advantage of that. I am 48 and have been in FERS my entire career, with no service breaks. My service computation date is October 1983. If I take the early out, my major concern is if I can keep my heath benefits. Will I get to keep my full health benefits? Will I have to take over from my agency the full cost of premiums? Will open season still be available to me each year, just as it is every year as an employee?
A. If your agency offers you an opportunity to retire early, you can accept it. That’s because employees with at least 25 years of service can retire at any age. If you have been enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program for the five consecutive years before you retire (or were enrolled before the latest early retirement authority was granted), you can carry that coverage into retirement. Unless you are a Postal Service employee, you’ll pay the same premiums you did as an employee. If you work for the Postal Service, your contributions will increase to match those of all other employees and retirees.