Adding a spouse to health insurance after retirement


Q. We are trying to determine whether or not my husband, a federal employee, must have self-and-family coverage on the date he retires to have a spouse covered under his health/dental/vision plans.

I am not under his health insurance as I am covered by my employer. I will stop working after he retires. If he retires in a self-only status for health/dental/vision, will he be able to add me and change to self and family after he retires? Either at open enrollment or when I stop working and lose my employment coverage?

If so, can you tell us where to find this in writing? We have looked online at and can’t find anything that clearly states you can add a spouse after retirement. It clearly states you can add a new spouse or child. It also states you can go from self to self and family at open enrollment, but doesn’t list this as a specifically allowed reason.

A. You’ll find the answers you are looking for on the Standard Form 2809. You can download a copy at


About Author

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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