Health insurance in retirement


Q. Can I retire without health insurance and pick it up after retirement? My husband works for the government also, and I will be retiring soon. Would it be better for me to pick up family insurance before I retire so I don’t lose any benefits? Is there any difference on the health insurance cost/benefits of my spouse and mine after we both retire?

A. No, you can neither enroll nor re-enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program after you retire. If your husband is enrolled in the self-and-family option, you wouldn’t need to enroll before retiring. With one exception, the premiums for employees and retirees are the same. The exception is for Postal Service employees. Through union contracts, they pay less for their coverage. When they retire, that subsidy vanishes and they pay the same as everyone else.


About Author

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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