Q: As of April 2011, I will have been a federal employee at the Department of Defense for five years. I presume that I could have enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan when I was hired. Instead, we decided to continue our Medicare A & B, Medigap, and drug policies. 2011 is the first time that we have enrolled in an FEHB plan. My husband of 51 years, a non-government retiree, is somewhat older than myself and it would be advantageous for me to be able to keep my FEHB plan when I retire. The consensus seemed to be that one has to have been enrolled in an FEHB plan for five continuous years to be able to carry it into retirement. However we found the following paragraph in the original law governing FEHB plans: “Note to those considering retirement: To be eligible to carry your FEHB enrollment into retirement, you must have been continuously covered, either as an enrollee or as an eligible family member under another FEHB enrollment, for the five years immediately preceding retirement, or, if less than five years, for the entire period since your first opportunity to enroll.” Would I have to work to 2015 and establish five years of continuous coverage, which I could have had, if I had enrolled when I was first hired?
A: Because you did not enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program when you were first hired, you will have to wait until you have five years of continuous coverage to be able to carry it into retirement.