Health care/retirement


Q. I am a career SES employee with 27 years in the civil service, seven under CSRS and the balance in FERS (I left government in 1985 and returned in 1990 and chose FERS). I will be 61 years old next month, and I am considering retiring to take a position in the private sector. If I were to retire at 61 and work in the private sector for four or five years, would it be possible for me to reinstate my federal health insurance coverage when I retire from the private sector position? What factors should I consider? Keeping the federal coverage is very important.

A. If you were enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program for the five consecutive years before you retired, you’d be able to carry that coverage into retirement. As long as you kept that enrollment, it wouldn’t make any difference if you stayed retired or worked somewhere else. On the other hand, if you either weren’t eligible to continue your FEHB coverage or canceled it, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll at a later date unless you returned to work for the federal government in a position that offered such coverage.


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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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