Five-year rule and health insurance


Q. I’ve been federal employee under FERS since 1993, all full time with medical benefits until 2009, when I went to part time (official tour is .5, but I average 25 to 30 hours per week). I stupidly stopped my medical insurance for one year in 2010, but then immediately resumed when I learned of the five-year rule in 2011. The problem is that I had hoped to retire at 60 with more than 20 years in 2016, but even though that does give me the five consecutive years of health insurance before retirement, being part-time affects the five-year rule, doesn’t it? If so, do you think I’d have a case to appeal, considering all along I had the insurance except for one lapse of judgment due to high cost of insurance at .5 tour?

A. You only need to be enrolled in the FEHB program for the five consecutive years before you retire. The fact that you worked part time during those years would have no effect on your eligibility to carry that coverage into retirement.


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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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