Annuities, health care for dual-fed couples


Q: My husband and I are both federal law enforcement officers. The family health plan is under my husband. We both plan to retire this year. He wants me to waive my survivor annuity and he says I will still be covered under our federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan because I was covered for the last five years of my employment under the Federal Employees Health Benefits family plan that he carried. He wants a bigger retirement check. My question is, if I sign the survivor annuity waiver and he dies before me, am I still automatically covered under our FEHB plan because I was also a federal retiree and would have been eligible for coverage? I think he is wrong and will not sign any waiver. I told him there is no “federal spouse rule” laid out in the Office of Personnel Management’s guidelines concerning FEHB.

A: Whether you decide to waive your entitlement to a survivor annuity is entirely up to you. However, your husband’s explanation of why you would be able to continue your FEHB coverage if he were to die before you is wrong. As long as you are covered under his FEHB plan enrollment and either employed or receiving an annuity when he dies, you would be able to continue that coverage. As the one carrying the enrollment, it’s your husband who needs to be enrolled for the five consecutive years before he retires, not you.


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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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