FEHB, Medicare and Tricare for Life


Q. Can FEHB suspension be done only in retirement? How can suspension be done working as an active federal employee with Medicare and Tricare for Life? One may want to keep working for the government but not have to pay FEHB fees and use Medicare Part A with its fees along with Medicare Part B free and TFL benefits included due to being a military retire. Why would one want to have such overkill in health care benefits and costs? Could you explain the process in a scenario such as this, and could either a continuing active employee or a retiree reclaim their FEHB in the event the Medicare or TFL benefit degrades or goes away?

A. Employees can’t suspend coverage. However, they can cancel their coverage to use CHAMPVA, Tricare or Tricare for Life. If you don’t participate in premium conversion, you can cancel your enrollment at any time. If you do, you can cancel during any annual FEHB Open Season. If you decide to return to FEHB coverage, you can do so during a future Open Season. On the other hand, if you then lose CHAMPVA, Tricare or Tricare for Life coverage involuntarily, you can immediately re-enroll in FEHB.

If you are an annuitant, you can re-enroll in FEHB for any reason during a future Open Season. On the other hand, if you are involuntarily disenrolled from Tricare or CHAMPVA, you are eligible to immediately re-enroll in FEHB. Your request to re-enroll must be received within the period beginning 31 days before and ending 60 days after your Tricare or CHAMPVA coverage ends. Otherwise, you must wait until Open Season.


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. I am retired military with Tricare insurance. I just retired as a government civil service employee and still have the FEHB medical coverage. I turn 65 in June and Tricare requires me to apply for medicare and switch to Tricare for Life. I also want to keep my FEHB coverage as my wife will not qualify for medicare for 2 more years. I am the sponsor so I will also still be on the FEHB policy. Is this a problem?

    • You will need to maintain your FEHB coverage until your wife becomes eligible for Medicare. If she is then eligible for coverage as a dependent under Tricare, you can suspend – not cancel – your FEHB coverage.

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