Health coverage for spouse


Q: What’s the law concerning when a spouse can be added to a health insurance plan before or after retirement? I have had continuous federal health coverage for more than five years. I will be retiring in the next few years, and my wife just landed a federal job. I have been carrying her on my policy, but we may get two separate health plans because it is cheaper. However, she does not know if she will continue to work for the feds toward her retirement or go back into the private sector. Either way, can I add her to my health policy in retirement, or is it mandatory that she be a part of my policy in advance of my retirement?

A: No, she doesn’t have to be covered under your Federal Employee Health Benefits plan when you retire. She can be added during any open season.

— Reg Jones


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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

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