Five-year rule


Q. I’m a 68-year-old Postal Service employee under FERS. I wanted to retire on or about May 10 because I began my postal career as a regular carrier on May 10, 2009. I purchased the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Basic medical insurance as soon as the open season began in 2009. Now someone tells me that to continue into retirement with the BC/BS medical insurance, I should have signed up for the medical insurance immediately when I became a regular carrier in May 2009. I thought I needed to wait until the open season. Can I still retire on or about May 10, or do I have to wait until 2014 to get in under the five-year rule to continue my BCBS medical insurance?

A. You will have to wait until you have five years of coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. If you retire before that, you won’t be able to carry that coverage into retirement.


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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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