FEHB enrollment

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Q. I am a CSRS annuitant who retired with a Federal Employee Health Benefits family plan in 2010. In 2016, my spouse, who is a federal employee, enrolled in the FEHB Program and I suspended my FEHB enrollment because she picked up our family plan that included myself.

My spouse is going to retire in April 2018, and from what I have read she won’t meet the five-year criteria prior to retiring to keep FEHB. What is the procedure to re-enroll as an annuitant in the FEHBP so my spouse and family does not lose coverage? Does her ineligibility, by the five-year rule, permit me to re-enroll? When should I do this? Any other information I should know would be appreciated.

A. The Office of Personnel Management confirmed you can switch the FEHB enrollment from her to you during the upcoming open season. However, on rereading your email, it occurred to me that you misunderstand the rules. If your wife wants to continue being the enrollee, she can. To carry that coverage into retirement, she only needs to be enrolled in — or covered by — the FEHBP for the five consecutive years before she retires. Clearly, she’ll meet that requirement.

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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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