Retirement and health insurance premiums


Q. I am 65, have worked for USDA intermittently since 1965 (recurring and temporary in the early years) and have been in my present position with USDA-ARS since 1999. I plan to retire (in FERS) in two or three years. My insurance provider for more than 10 years has been Blue Cross/Blue Shield Federal Employee Program. I am signed up for Medicare Part A. My wife, several years younger than I, is a health provider in private practice. She and my two children (elementary school age) are now covered under the federal employee plan above. My understanding is they can remain covered by the plan when I retire (although some aspects of plan coverage change because of my enrollment in Medicare Part A). After retirement, can I continue to pay premiums (covering me and my family) of the same amount as I now pay? In other words, will the U.S. government continue to pay the same portion of the premium as it does now?

A. As a non-Postal Service retiree, you’ll continue to pay the same premiums you did as an employee. (Postal Service retirees will pay the same amount as you because their negotiated contract subsidy expires when they retire.) Your wife can continue to be covered under your self and family option enrollment, as can your children if they are under age 26 or incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that began before age 26.


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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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