Health benefits and retirement

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Q. I need medical benefits to continue. I was hired by the Postal Service in March 2001. I turn 56 on Jan. 8. I will have 12 years of service next year. My contract is up for renewal, with the possibility of me losing my job.

A. If you reach age 56 before you lose your job, you could retire under the MRA+10 provision. Although your annuity would be reduced by 5 percent for every year you are under age 62, you could retire and postpone the receipt of your annuity. If you’ve been covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program for the five consecutive years before you retire and you accept the age reduction, you could continue that coverage in retirement. If you postpone the receipt of your annuity, you could re-enroll when your annuity begins.

If you are separated before being eligible to retire under the MRA+10 provision, your FEHB coverage would end 31 days later at no cost to you.

Then you could continue that coverage at your own expense plus 2 percent for up to 18 months. While you’d be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 62, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll in FEHB. No one who retires on a deferred annuity can do that.

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