Part-timer changing from self only to self and family


Q. I work part time and carry self-only health insurance, using my husband’s nongovernment health insurance for the family since it’s less expensive. Upon our retirement:

1. Can we drop my husband’s health insurance, switch my self-only insurance to self-and-family insurance?  Or would I have to carry family insurance for the five years, not just self-only?

2. Also, I’m carrying the least expensive health insurance. Once I retire, can I switch to a better health insurance, or am I limited in some way because I’ve been paying so little over my active federal government years?

A. You only need to be enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program for the five consecutive years before you retire to carry that coverage into retirement. It doesn’t matter whether you are enrolled in the self-only or self-and-family option. You can also change the plan you are enrolled in during any open season, regardless of the difference in coverage or premium cost.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

Leave A Reply