Medicare and changing to self-only


Q. I retired from the Postal Service in October 2008. My wife is now getting Medicare. Can I remove her from my insurance and only claim myself as a single? I also would like to know what I’m paying for my family coverage now and what I would pay if I claim as a single. Can you advise me on how to go about or whom to contact?

A. Whoa, Nelly! Don’t assume that your wife’s Medicare coverage will provide all of the health benefits she needs now or in the future. Further, the waiver of co-insurance payments and deductibles she now enjoys will be lost if she is no longer covered by your Federal Employees Health Benefits plan. You can find the premium rates for self and self-and-family enrollments by going to If you decide to change from self-and-family coverage to self-only, you can do that during any health benefits open season.


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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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