Adding family to health insurance


Q: I am eligible to retire without penalty (Federal Employees Retirment System) since I’m now 60 years old and have almost 24 years of federal service. I have health insurance for myself, which I plan on carrying into retirement. My husband, who has worked for private industry, has just had open-heart surgery. He filed for disability and is being awarded. He also filed for retirement through his company. He has had excellent health insurance with his employer and union. They are to carry full health coverage on him for nine months after his heart attack in November. Since this is not open season to add him to my health insurance, I am told I need to wait for a letter from his insurance carrier advising him of when his insurance will be canceled. I am also told that I could retire and add him after my retirement. At this point in our lives, I am concerned that a mix-up may happen and he will be without insurance — something we can not afford. I wanted to know if this is all true, or is it true I must wait on the letter of cancellation to add him on to my insurance?

A: Under Qualifying Life Event 1M, you may add your husband to your Federal Employees Health Benefit enrollment beginning 31 days before he loses coverage under a nonfederal health plan. You could also do the same thing as a retiree under QLE 2G. As is always the case, you can add him during any open season.


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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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