Blue Cross and Blue Shield after retirement


Q: I am considering retiring, but need to know whether there is a specific form I must complete in order to continue my Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance after retirement? I have had BCBS for over 5 years.

A: No special form is required. Your coverage will continue seamlessly without your doing anything other than your checking the box confirming your eligibility on the Application for Immediate retirement: Standard Form 2801 (Civil Service Retirement System) or 3107 (Federal Employees Retirement System).


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. When I retired from the USPS in 2015, I continued BCBS Federal coverage. March 2018, I start Medicare. Will my BCBS coverage automatically stop or something I do to discontinue?

    • No, it won’t stop. And you may not want to discontinue that coverage because the combination of Medicare and BCBS (or any other FEHB plan) will substantially reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

  2. I’m a federal retiree. I opted out of my BC/BS shortly after retiring as we had insurance through my husband. He is no longer working and I want to know if we can reapply for BC B S ?

  3. Hello…I am retiring officially October 30, 2020 from the Government (Smithsonian) and currently have BCBS health insurance. Is it possible for me to continue after retirement with this insurance and do you know approximately what it would cost me? I also have Medicare A & B.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    John Trigger

    • You can continue your FEHB coverage if you were enrolled in the program for the 5 consecutive years before you retire. As a rule, you would pay the same amount for your coverage as a retiree as you did while employed. Still, there are exceptions. For example, the FEHB premiums of Postal Service employees are less as a result of union negotiations; however, when they retire, they pay the same premiums as the majority of federal employees and retirees. Because I’m not familiar with the Smithsonian’s policies, You’ll have to check with your personnel office to find out if there will be any difference between what you now pay and what you would pay when you retire.

  4. Valerie Hein on

    If I currently am employed and have bcbs through my employer, but am having to retire due to a battle with cancer and can no longer handle working will I be able to keep my bcbs insurance? I live in Oklahoma. How costly would it be? I am only 60yrs old and cannot draw SS yet.

    • As long as you have been covered by an FEHB plan for the 5 consecutive years before you retire, you can carry that coverage into retirement. The premiums you’ll pay for that coverage will be the same as those you paid while employed, unless you are a Postal Service employee. Their premiums are less than other employees as a result of union negotiations. When they retire, their premiums increase and become the same as all non-postal employees and retirees.

  5. I retired full CSRS under the early retirement program for FAA Air Traffic Controllers a few years ago (no conversion to FERS). While I did not pay into Social Security as a federal employee I have a number of years paid in via the private sector (but would not be eligible for payments due to the offset). I turn 65 next year. Am I correct in understanding my BCBS (FEHB) will automatically continue but should enroll in Medicare A? What is the advantage of doing so?

    • Assuming that you have at least 10 years of Social Security-covered employment, you will be entitled to enroll in Medicare Part A at no cost to yourself. As a rule, the combination of FEHB coverage and Part A will reduce or eliminate your out-of-pocket expenses for such things as medically necessary inpatient hospital care and care in skilled nursing facilities. home health care, hospice care and nursing home care.

  6. Nichole McIntyre on

    My husband has decided to retire from the military after 22 years. We were wondering if he is able to keep his blue cross blue shield insurance that he had when he was a technician for the army national guard. It would make it easier if we can keep the plan we currently are enrolled in for a family plan. If not I will have to find other medical insurance through my job.

    • If he has been enrolled in the FEHB program for the 5 consecutive years before he retires, he can carry that coverage into retirement.

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