Carrying FEHB into retirement


Q. For the past 20+ years, I have held term appointments with several federal government commissions and boards in the D.C. area. Naturally, I have experienced several breaks in my service. Will the gaps in my employment make me ineligible for federal employee health benefits upon retirement? And, if I am considered ineligible, is there a possibility that a waiver can be obtained through the Office of Personnel Management? I was told I need to carry health insurance at least five years prior to retirement, but have not received an official answer from my human resources office about my personal situation. I am enrolled in Federal Employees Health Benefits with 30+ years of service but hoping to retire in the next year or two.

A. You only need to be enrolled in the FEHB program for the five consecutive years before you retire. If you were enrolled in the program, had a break in service, and re-enrolled when you returned, those two periods would be consecutive. The same is true if you had coverage, went to a position that didn’t provide coverage and then moved to one that did provide such coverage and you immediately re-enrolled.


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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