FEHB coverage


Q. If my wife retires at 62½, and I am a private sector retiree, how much will her FERS annuity be reduced in order for me to continue being covered by her FEHB enrollment?

A. As long as your wife is receiving an annuity and has elected Self Plus One or Self and Family FEHB coverage, she wouldn’t have to elect a survivor annuity for you to continue being covered by her plan. However, if she were to die, your coverage would end. To avoid this possibility, she would have to elect a survivor annuity for you.


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.


  1. A Survivor Annuity will cost her 10% of her annuity. But you will need that to ensure you can keep FEHB in the event she pre-deceases you.

  2. Travis L. Williams on

    I retired in Oct 2016 with an insurance coverage Self plus 1. I will turn 65 this month (Feb). and will have to sign up for Medicare. My wife will not be eligible for Medicare for a few more years. Should we sign her up in to another insurance plan or keep this one in place?

    • In my experience, federal retirees who become eligible for Medicare retain their FEHB coverage because the combination substantially reduces most out-of-pocket costs. As a rule, there wouldn’t be any need to move your wife to another FEHB plan while you wait for her to become eligible for Medicare. The only time you might consider moving both of you to a lower cost FEHB plan would be when your wife is also covered by Medicare.

  3. I understand that Medicare Part B can be waived if you have FEHB in retirement. I am confused about how to decipher the pros and cons of only having FEHB in retirement vesus having FEHB and Medicare B. My concern is that if your have both, then Medicare Part B is your primary. How then can you use your FEHB for your PPO doctors if they do not accept Medicare Part B. Confused about the details and find the answer anywhere. I hope you can help.

    • You are automatically eligible for Medicare Part A because you paid for that coverage while you were an employee. Medicare Part B is optional. If you wanted that coverage, you’d have to pay for it. Many federal retirees with FEHB coverage have told me that they declined Part B coverage and are happy with that decision.

  4. I retired from civil service two years ago with 46 years of service. I am 70 and have Medicare A and B, plus I kept FEHB (Blue Cross Blue Shield) in retirement. I am now working, however, I am not sure who is my primary, whether it is Medicare or Blue Cross Blue Shield. I have received different answers. Would it benefit me to just have Medicare.

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