'Quitting' FEHB and re-enrolling


Q. Can a retired employee quit his Federal Employees Health Benefits in retirement for, say, Tricare for Life and Medicare if retired military, and later opt to switch back to FEHB?

A. If you “quit” your FEHB coverage for Tricare, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll at a later date; however, if you suspended your FEHB coverage, you could reactivate it during any open season, or immediately if, for some reason, you lost your Tricare coverage.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. OK FEHB Medicare and Tri care Does the same apply if one only has FEHB ? Can you suspend it ? Question is also for spousal postal employees. One retires, how should they handle FEHB ? Separate coverage ? self + one ? and also if one spouse passes, who should have what coverage ? If one spouse has coverage and changes to non postal spouse’s coverage, can they return to FEHB ? Hope the scenarios can be understood Thank You

  2. I am retired Federal Employee and retired military, I had FEHB at retirement and then Tricare Life was approved, so I suspended my FEHB and continued with Medicare A and B and Tricare life. I have had no problems doing so, with one exception and that Only FEHB covered Chiropractors, Medicare and Tricare dose not. But have had Triple By Pass surgery and never any problems with coverage. I do have some gripes when a doctor tells me he has to preform certain test as The Government requires them, Or he has to limit my refills to One and not Three, for diabetic treatment because Government said so, This I find no evidence too, as Tricare recommends 90 days and Three refills, on all Insulin and Pills for diabetics, When under FEHB no such claims were made by Doctors. But I can live with it,

  3. I am about to be eligible for Tricare coverage due to the Army re-characterizing my discharge. So within the next 3 months I will be permanent disabled retired from the Army. I also have FEHB coverage already from my medical retirement from Department of Homeland Security. Is there any where we can see a good comparison of both plans side by side? I have about 3 months to figure out whether I want to keep both – or decline one or the other. But I would like to know which one is the best coverage incase I want to quit one.

    • I’m not aware of any side-by-side comparisons. If any of our readers know where he can find one, let us know. What I have heard from numerous former members of the military is that they elected to be covered by Tricare and suspended their FEHB coverage. That way they could reactivate their FEHB coverage if they needed to do that at a later date.

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