Suspending medical insurance after retirement


Q. I want to see if I can suspend my medical insurance (I am retired FERS). I have taken a part-time job that offers medical benefits if I want them. I need to make a decision soon and was told that when I retired, I would be able to suspend my medical if I found work. What is the amount I can earn before I have to pay back to the Social Security (as I am 59), and do I pay back dollar for dollar?

A. You can’t suspend your FEHB coverage. You can only cancel it. If you do, you won’t be able to re-enroll at a later date.

The Social Security earnings limit in 2013 is $15,120. Earnings above the limit are reduced by $2 for every $3 you receive from wages or self-employment. This limit applies to the special retirement supplement until a retiree becomes eligible for a Social Security benefit. It continues to apply to that benefit until the year in which the retiree reaches full Social Security retirement age, when the reduction is $1 for every $3 earned above the limit. There isn’t any limit beginning with the month in which a retiree reaches your full retirement age. In your case, full retirement age is 67.


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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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