Health care for family's future (updated)


Q: I am covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System and plan to retire at age 56 (my minimum retirement age) with 34 years of service. I will have met the five-year qualification for the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. I intend to keep a family FEHB plan in retirement to cover myself, my wife and my daughter. At my retirement, I will elect survivor benefits for my wife so she can continue to use my FEHB plan if I die before her.

When I turn 65, my wife will be 56 and my daughter will be 19. I understand that Medicare will be my primary insurer, but with survivor benefits, my daughter and my wife can continue to use the FEHB plan as a primary insurer. If my wife and I both to die before the FEHB plan coverage expires, can my daughter continue to be covered by my FEHB plan without assigned survivor benefits? If so, where can I find details?

A: If you were both to die, your unmarried dependent child would be eligible to receive a survivor benefit and continue to be covered under the FEHB program until age 22, when the survivor benefit ends. At that time, she would be eligible to continue coverage under the Temporary Continuation of Coverage provision for up to 18 months. The Office of Personnel Management’s website has more information on children’s benefits and on health benefits coverage regarding the situation you’ve described.


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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