Tricare and FEHB benefits

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Q. I retired from the Army in 2011 and have been working as a contractor since then. I have just accepted a GS position. I have Tricare (retired) now. Does my new position have the option of Tricare or is that just a military thing? If not, then should I ditch the Tricare for the FEHB? Any advantages/disadvantages either way?

A. No, a federal civilian employee doesn’t have the option of Tricare, However, you are free to continue that coverage on your own. Whether you switch from TriCare to FEHB coverage is up to you. Note: If you want to keep Tricare coverage but want to have the FEHB program as an option when you retire, you would only need to be enroll in it during the Open Season that precedes your retirement.

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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.

4 Comments

  1. Reg,
    I am a retired Marine and am 63 my wife just turned 65. We have TRICARE and we have FEHB. My wife has signed up for Medicare. When I retire I will do the same. Should these three together (TRICARE, Medicare, and FEHB) be a good plan for us? Do we need anything else as a supplemental? My wife likes the military medicine and so do I. Neither of has ever accessed FEHB as I am enrolled as it provides health insurance for my son. Thank you,

    • What I’ve been told by other retirees in your position is that they suspended their FEHB coverage and were satisfied with the combination of TRICARE and Medicare. No one who has talked to me ever indicated that a supplemental policy would be needed.

  2. Hi Reg,

    Thanks for providing this resource for uncomplicated answers to a subject that is anything but uncomplicated.
    I turn 65 in October this year and will go on Medicare. My wife just turned 50 this past May. We are both retired from the Navy with no dependents. My wife began working with Civil Service in March of 2016 and declined to enroll FEHB because we are TRICARE eligible. We reside on Guam where access to a variety of specialist is much more limited than CONUS. Additionally, Naval Hospital Guam will not be increasing staff size even though a constant force of 5,000 Marines are slated to be deployed to Guam in the next few years. We have talked to other military/civil service retired persons on Guam who elected to carry their FEHB policy into retirement citing limitations on Guam and more flexibility (being able to go directly to specialist) than TRICARE/MediCare allow. My question is does my wife have to be enrolled in FEHB for five years prior to being eligible to continue FEHB into retirement? Also, if she enrolls in FEHB and we plan on carrying that forever, should I opt out of MediCare Part B to offset the cost of FEHB? Thanks in advance for your answer.

    • Yes, your wife would have to be enrolled in the FEHB program for 5 consecutive years to carry that coverage into retirement. Whether you opt out of Medicare Part B is entirely up to you. I’m not able to offer any advice.

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