Early retirement eligibility and keeping FEHB coverage


Q. My husband has a rare syndrome, and his prognosis is only a couple years. He cannot be left alone during the day, and I cannot afford to pay someone to stay with him all day. I am age 50, and a GG-13 Step 7 with 15 years of government service (four years of active-duty time is included in this). Can I retire now (I am under FERS) and still keep my health insurance? What would I receive in pension, and what would be the cost of keeping my health insurance as I cannot afford to lose it due to all of his medical appointments?

A. You can’t retire because you don’t meet the age and service requirements to do that. If you resigned from the government, you’d be eligible for a deferred annuity at age 62. While you could continue your Federal Employees Health Benefits enrollment for up to 18 months under the temporary continuation of coverage provision, you’d be responsible for paying the entire premium, plus 2 percent for administrative costs. As a deferred retiree, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll in the FEHB program when your retirement began.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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