Suspending FEHB coverage

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Q. I am 63 and retired from Tobyhanna Army Depot. I have coverage with Geisinger Health Plan as part of my retirement package. I have Tricare standard, being retired military. How do I drop Geisinger since I receive Tricare at no monthly cost? It makes no sense to pay for one that is close to $300 per month when I have Tricare that has a much lower deductible, and I will have to come under Medicare Part B in the near future. How do I do this?

A. To preserve your options, you’ll want to suspend you FEHB coverage, not cancel it. To do that, go to https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/ri79-9.pdf, fill out the form and send it to OPM.

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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.

8 Comments

    • I have no idea how many federal retirees don’t sign up for Medicate Part B. However, I’m told that many of them don’t because they believe that the amount it costs isn’t matched by the additional benefits Part B provides.

  1. David Marcus on

    I am 65 yrs old this year and retired. I found a local San Diego Medicare Advantage Plan that currently covers all my usual Doctors and the hospital I go to. The plan also includes prescription coverage, a gym membership, vision and there is no cost over the Part B premium I have decided to take. I was not going to enroll in Part B but was concerned about the penalty if I decided I needed it later on. So rather than not enrolling in Part B, I have decided to suspend my FEHB coverage until I cant find a suitable Advantage plan.

      • David Marcus on

        To clarify :
        I was not going to enroll in Part B because I already had that coverage under FEHB Blue Cross Basic and it would have almost doubled my health insurance premium costs. So rather than not enroll in Part B and risk the penalty of a late enrollment fee some day, I chose to enroll in Part B and a Medicare Advantage Plan that gave me more of the options I was looking for in a health insurance plan than BCB. So when my Medicare Advantage Plan enrollment is complete, I will suspend my FEHB Health Insurance Coverage and Premiums until the day, I want FEHB Insurance Coverage again.

  2. I currently have/use Tricare and have been told that I should sign up for FEHBP before I retire from civil service and then suspend it upon retirement. By doing so I’ll be able to start it up again if needed. A friend has told me that I will be forced to begin the FEHBP when I turn 65 and Tricare will then become my third insurance company, 1 – Medicare, 2 – FEHBP, 3 – Tricare. As the third company my friend is telling me that Tricare will then be able to disallow payments for treatments. My friend says I’m much better off by not signing up for FEHBP and suspending it – but rather just continue to keep Tricare and it will convert to Tricare for Life upon age 65/sign up for Medicare. Your thoughts?

    • First, you have to be enrolled in the FEHB program for the 5 consecutive years before you retire to carry that coverage into retirement. If you do that, you can suspend your FEHB coverage in favor of Medicare A&B and Tricare. What your friend told you would only be true if you didn’t suspend your FEHB coverage.

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