Coverage rules for term employees


Q: I am a term employee in the Labor Department covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. My term ends Dec. 20. I am also a surviving spouse of a federal employee who was covered under the Civil Service Retirement System. I elected to not take health insurance under the annuity about 15 years ago. I would like to continue my current coverage; can my coverage be converted to the annuity coverage? I am a career status employee with approximately 13 years of federal service, 11 years under CSRS, and I elected not to be included in the Federal Employees Retirement System when I received my current two-year term appointment.

A: Unless you have a minimum of five years of continuous coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program when you are separated from the government, you will not be able to continue that coverage. However, under the temporary continuation of coverage provision of law, you would be offered the opportunity to maintain that coverage for up to 18 months at your own expense, plus 2 percent.


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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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