Suspending FEHB

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Q. I need to suspend my Federal Employees Health Benefits. I am turning 65 and am eligible for TRICARE for life. I have gone to several sites, and tried to call the Office of Personnel Management without success. Please help.

A. Here is the answer taken from OPM’s website:
How can annuitants or former spouses suspend FEHB coverage to use TRICARE or CHAMPVA?
They can apply to suspend their coverage at any time. Annuitants can call OPM’s Retirement Information Office at 1-888-767-6738 to obtain a suspension form. Callers within the local Washington, D.C., calling area must call 202-606-0500. Former spouses can get the form from the employing office or retirement system maintaining their enrollment. Eligible individuals must submit a completed suspension form and provide all necessary documentation to show eligibility for TRICARE or CHAMPVA during the period beginning 31 days before and ending 31 days after the date they designate as using TRICARE or CHAMPVA instead of FEHB coverage.

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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.

16 Comments

  1. I’m turning 60 Jan 18. I would like the form to suspend my Blue Cross. Please mail it to Mark Frye 4302 Windward Drive St. Joseph Mo. 64505

    • You’ve come to the wrong place. This is the Federal Times, not the federal government. However, I checked and here is how you can get the form you want.

      How can annuitants or former spouses suspend FEHB coverage to use TRICARE or CHAMPVA?
      They can apply to suspend their coverage at any time. Annuitants can call OPM’s Retirement Information Office at 1-888-767-6738 to obtain a suspension form. Callers within the local Washington, DC calling area must call 202-606-0500. Former spouses can get the form from the employing office or retirement system maintaining their enrollment. Eligible individuals must submit a completed suspension form and provide all necessary documentation to show eligibility for TRICARE or CHAMPVA during the period beginning 31 days before and ending 31 days after the date they designate as using TRICARE or CHAMPVA instead of FEHB coverage.

        • kilhefner@gmail.com on

          FYI,
          I, today, Jan 15th, 2020, now have in my hands RI 79-9 Version 2017. I thought and told SHINE representative, my helper, whether he had found it in the Internet. He response was negative. So, Now I know that the form was sent (included to me) by OPM (after sending e-mail to retire@opm.gov with a long request) when they responded to me by sending me their (mine) latest “personalized federal retirement benefits booklet”. I got the first one when THEY retired me (after bone fractures and disease). Now, I see that many of you have not yet retire but my guess is that that you cannot be stopped from registering, using opm and if you have problems to log in in their website, you e-mail to them with your request. It is true that I do carry a CSA # when they retired me. Just use ALL vias to get your answers.
          RI 79-9 LASTEST REVISED VERSION MAY 2017 IS AVAILABLE.
          “From: xxxxxx@xxxxxxx
          Sent: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 12:57:19 AM
          To: “opm usps”
          Subject: Your attention please
          OPM
          Would you please send via usps to my home address the following, ASAP, if possible :
          1.- Annuity Statement/Verification of Income for csa for my benefits filing at Children and Families Department in my county
          2.- Include also the premium for feblue health insurance.
          3.- Please send me a new password because you continue giving me “error” in both, the new password created while being helped by the bank clerk and trusting her with it…. XXXXXXXXX ….,
          4.- …. if you did not accept it from me, 10 minutes ago,… my common sense tells me that it should not be accepted by any hacker as well …
          Thank you ”

          Keep copy of your contacts. The booklet brings lots of info that … well.. it is sad to tell. wish you the best of luck and good manners.

  2. I’m a military grey area retiree (Retired Reserve). I’m eligible for a military pension but I haven’t reached age 60 yet so the money won’t start for two more years. Once I start receiving my military pension I become eligible for Tricare Standard. Is there any reason to continue with my Blue Cross after I hit age 60 or should I just drop Blue Cross and go with Tricare Standard? By dropping Blue Cross I can save $7,000 in Blue Cross enrollment fees. The deductibles between the two plans look similar.

    Once I reach age 65 I plan on switching to Tricare For Life and Medicare Parts A & B.

    • To preserve your options, you should suspend your FEHB coverage, not drop it. That way you can preserve your right to activate that coverage if that becomes desirable.

    • The address is on the top of the form:
      U.S. Office of Personnel Management
      Retirement Operations
      Washington, DC 20415-3532

  3. NEED TO CANCEL MY BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD INS. IT IS A PROBLEM TO CONTACT SOMEBODY ON THE PHONE OR ON THE WEB SITE. NEED TO ASK A QUESTION ABOUT MY INS. PLEASE REACH ME AT THIS NUMBER 915-487-5942 OR 915-487-5049. I HAVE SEND YOU A REQUEST LETTER AND YOU SEND MY LETTER BACK AS UNCLAIMED. SO PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT IS MY STATUS ON MY INS.

  4. I have completed the OPM Form FI 79-9 to suspend my FEHB coverage because my wife and I have Medicare Part A & B and we also have Tri-Care for Life. I would like to know If I can fax the signed copy of the form to OPM and if I can, what is the fax number. Otherwise what is the address that I can mail the form and supporting documents (copy of the Medicare cards) to.

    • You’ll find the address at the top of the form’s first page. You can mail it and any accompanying material to that address.

  5. what happens to bills previously going to Blue Cross/Blue Shield for medical services that come in after the switch to TFL?

    • BC/BS will continue to be the primary payer and TFL the secondary payer unless you suspend your BC/BS coverage. If you do, TFL will be the sole payer.

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