Q. I’m an FBI Intelligence Analyst who is thinking of leaving federal service at 20 years instead of the full 30 years for professional staff employees. I believe I was vested when I hit 10 years, and I think I’ll be able to defer my retirement annuity until I’m eligible, at age 62. However, I was recently told if I leave service early, I’d also be able to pick back up federal employee health insurance benefits for both my husband and I, as long as I was vested when I left service. Is this the case?

A. No, it isn’t. What you would be able to do is continue your health benefits coverage for up to 18 months under the temporary continuation of coverage provision. If you did that, you’d have to pay 100 percent of the premiums, plus 2 percent more to cover administrative expenses. As for your life insurance coverage, you would have the option of converting to a private policy at your own expense. Note: If you left with 20 years of service, you’d be able to apply for a deferred annuity at age 60, not 62. However, you wouldn’t be able to reenroll in either the FEHB or FEGLI programs.


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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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