5-year rule


Q. I am looking into medical retirement after 32 years with the federal fire department. At this time, the Air Force doc has not cleared me to work because of some prescription meds that I take on my off days. I’m going in for thumb surgery for arthritis. I also have lower back pain, and four vertebrae are not in the greatest health. I had Blue Cross/Blue Shield before, and when I got married, I dropped it because my wife’s medical insurance was better than mine. But she lost her job and is now disabled, too, and had to get BC/BS for the family. They say I have to wait five years to carry the coverage into retirement. But if I go out with a medical retirement, do I have to have it for five years in a row?

A. Yes, you have to be enrolled for five consecutive years before you retire.


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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 fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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