Retirement & health insurance


Q. I was in the Marine Corps for 22 months from 1969-1971. I will be 63 years old in May 2010. I started work at the VA hospital on July 3, 2006 and am currently still employed. I bought back (made deposit for) the 22 months military time in 2008. I am getting conflicting answers from the HR dept.
1. When can I retire with the “age 62 and five years” rule? I was first told by HR that my 22 months buyback would count towards the five years but am now being told it will not and that I will have to work until September 2011 rather than being eligible since September 2009 as first told.
2. I went on the health insurance within the first 60-day grace period of being hired and so the effective date of my health enrollment is September 2006. When can I retire and carry my health insurance? The Web site says you have to be on the health insurance five years or less if you went on it when first offered (which I did). HR is saying I absolutely have to be on it for five years.

A. Your folks in HR were correct when they told you that you had to have five years of civilian service to retire at age 62 or later. However, they were wrong about the five-year requirement to carry your health insurance into retirement. The law specifies that you need to be covered for five years or from your first opportunity to enroll.


About Author

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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