Health insurance premium


Q. My fiancé works full time for the Postal Service. She is not a carrier, but works inside as a mail handler in the bulk mail room. I am considering retiring from my position and can include my spouse (if I marry before I retire) on my health insurance plan. I have heard from other postal employees that while they are employed, their health insurance premium is paid 80 percent by the Postal Service and they contribute 20 percent. However, I was also advised that when someone retires, the 80 percent-20 percent contribution is reversed and that the retiree would have to contribute 80 percent of the premium cost. Is this accurate? She can retire in five years and will have about 33 years of service at that time. I want to ensure that we both have the best coverage at the best price. If she has to pay 80 percent of her premium when she retires, it would be more reasonable to include her on my plan.

My insurance coverage would not see a significant jump due to retirement only. It would increase only if I opted for family coverage (spouse, but no children).

A. While the percentages of employee and the government vary among the various plans, it’s true that through union negotiations the premiums of Postal Service employees are lower than those of all other employees and all retirees. And it’s also true that the extra subsidy ends when a Postal Service employee retires. However, it isn’t reversed like some ignoramus told you. As a Postal Service employee, you’d pay about 5-10 percent less for premiums than you would as a retiree.


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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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