Health benefits


Q. I receive a FERS disability annuity and participate in the FEHB program to supplement my Medicare A&B health insurance. I was an employee of the VA hospital at the time of my nonwork related injury. I was single at the time of my disability, but plan to marry next summer. My question is, can I add my spouse to my FEHB insurance? Currently it’s GEHA — I am happy with them, so it will likely be them next year, too.  Please note, this will be a legal same sex marriage in New York state. Currently, my spouse-to-be does not have health insurance, so this is a really big deal to us.

A. No. Same sex partners are not eligible as a family member under your FEHB enrollment. Public Law 104-199, the Defense of Marriage Act, states, “the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”


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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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