Canceling FEHB plan

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Q. Can I cancel my current FEHB plan and enroll in a private insurance plan if the FEHB plans do not meet my needs?

A. You may cancel your FEHB coverage at any time. If you are an employee, you could re-enroll at a later date; however, if you did that, you’d have to be enrolled for the five consecutive years before you retire to carry that coverage into retirement. If you are a retiree, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll unless you were reemployed by the federal government in a position that’s covered by the FEHB Program.

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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.

7 Comments

  1. What if this employee were to suspend rather than cancel their FEHB plan? For example, could this employee preserve their right to re-enroll in an FEHB plan, even once they had retired, at a future date/open season, provided they had established their initial five year eligiblity requirement for FEHB coverage before they suspended their coverage, should they need to ever reinstate their FEHB?

    It is my understanding for any retired military or other Tricare eligible federal civilian employees that our Tricare will count for years of eligible medical coverage (five years) for continuing eligibility for FEHB coverage into our federal civilian service retirement; however, it is also my understanding that Tricare is not considered an actual FEHB plan itself, meaning that if one were never enrolled in an FEHB offered plan during their active federal civilian service time that this person could not later once retired “enroll” in an FEHB plan offered to federal civilian employees and retirees during an open season if they desired to change from their Tricare to an FEHB plan option for their medical care. Is this true? Otherwise, I also believe I have read that if a retired military federal employee is covered by Tricare, it is my understanding this person could while still serving as an active federal employee join an FEHB plan and then suspend it providing them the opportunity to re-enroll into an FEHB plan, even once they have are in their federal civilian retirement, if the person ever wanted or needed to change their primary medical coverage from Tricare to FEHB. Is this also true? If so, does the military retiree have to wait until their final year of federal civilian service to during an open season to exercise this option or could the serving federal employee enroll in an FEHB plan during any open season and then suspend their coverage to preserve future FEHB eligibility? If an employee did this, how long would they have to initially remain enrolled in the selected FEHB plan before suspending the FEHB plan (for example, would they have to actually pay any minimum number of FEHB plan premiums or could they immediately suspend coverage once they were advised of their successful enrollment in an FEHB plan by official notification) in order to simply reserve their option to carry FEHB plan eligibility into their retirement years, even if they are most likely remain with Tricare for Life? It does seem that with all the future uncertainty regarding health care coverages, costs, and options that any federal government worker, who is also eligible for Tricare, might be wise to have both an FEHB actual plan enrollment and Tricare for Life coverage eligibility options in their retirement years. Thank you, in advance, for your thoughtful reply and answers concerning this important matter.

    • A retiree who is eligible to do so may suspend his FEHB coverage to enroll in TRICARE of CHAMPVA. And any retiree may suspend his FEHB coverage to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan under Medicare Part C.

  2. When did OPM start allowing employees to drop FEHB? I remember in the early 1980’s working in Personnel at an Agency and handing out the FEHB enrollment forms (SF-2809). There was an “I Decline” block, but a statement included that you certified that you were covered under another Group Health Insurance plan. We were instructed to tell employees that they were not allowed to drop FEHB unless they could prove they were covered by another plan, like their spouse’s.

  3. I made a mistake to join another part d health plan will I be dropped from my FEHB insurance or I am able to cancel the the other plan before it take effect

    • What you do with Medicare Part D will have no affect on your FEHB enrollment. If you want to drop Part D, you’ll have to call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and talk with them about dropping your enrollment.

  4. Could you please help me?-I have been trying to cancel my TSA paid insurance, since enrolling in another plan-(I did this during open enrollment-) Please tell me the procedure to cancel, as I have attempted to find help through phone calls, e-mail, and written letters ,but to no avail- I retired in 2010 from TSA-I sincerely hope this e-mail solves my problem, as I have been covered by my new insurance for a month-Thank you for any help you can provide- Yours truly, George A Humphrey 938 Brighton Rd. Tonawanda, N.Y. 14150 Ph.# (716) 418-3837)- e-mail ghumphrey716@gmail.com

    • You must not be talking about plans in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. If you were, you would have changed your enrollment during the recent open season and the change wouldn’t be effective until January. Since I’ve never heard of “TSA paid insurance,” I can’t be of any help without a clearer explanation of the kind of insurance you want to drop and what kind you’ve changed to.

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