RIF and FEHB coverage


Q. As a government civilian, you have the benefit to carry your Federal Employees Health Benefits into retirement provided you:

1. Are eligible to receive an immediate annuity.

2. Are insured on the date of retirement (or covered as a family member under the FEHB program), and

3. Have been covered for the five years of service immediately preceding retirement or since your first opportunity to enroll.

The decision to accept a reduction in force and move to unemployment is one option, but would you lose the right to carry FEHB into retirement because your were separated by the RIF. If you retire, you only need Medicare Part A as Part B is waived (do not have to pay the premium) because you can carry the FEHB medical with you. So is it true that if you want to carry the FEHB, you have to retire not accept the RIF?

A. Yes. If you are separated through a RIF and not eligible for an immediate annuity, you can’t continue your enrollment in the FEHB program.

However, under the temporary continuation of coverage provision, you would be covered for 31 days at no cost to you; and you’d be eligible to continue that coverage for up to 18 months by paying the entire premium, plus 2 percent for administrative costs.


About Author

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

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