Q. I am a 53-year-old FERS employee who will have 16 years of service (including nine years of military buyback) at age 56. I will meet the requirements of MRA+10 at age 56 and will have been in the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan for more than five years by then. I am trying to understand if it is possible for me to retire at or after age 56 and defer the receipt of my annuity to reduce or avoid the age penalty, then re-enroll in FEHB when I begin receiving the annuity.
I have read all the previously answered questions and the FEHB Program Handbook. I am still confused. Some of your answers say “you would not be able to re-enroll in the FEHB program at that time. No one who retires on a deferred annuity can do that.” Another says, “If you retire and defer the receipt of your annuity … when you finally begin receiving your annuity, you’ll be able to re-enroll in FEHB.” The Handbook says if you are “entitled to retire on an immediate annuity,” you qualify. Am I not “entitled” to retire on an immediate annuity at age 56 but elect not to? Is there a subtle difference between “retiring” at age 56 without annuity and “leaving government and later applying for a deferred annuity”?
A. If you were enrolled in the FEHB program for at least five years and retire under the MRA+10 provision, you can re-enroll when your annuity begins.