Canceling FEHB plan


Q. Can I cancel my current FEHB plan and enroll in a private insurance plan if the FEHB plans do not meet my needs?

A. You may cancel your FEHB coverage at any time. If you are an employee, you could re-enroll at a later date; however, if you did that, you’d have to be enrolled for the five consecutive years before you retire to carry that coverage into retirement. If you are a retiree, you wouldn’t be able to re-enroll unless you were reemployed by the federal government in a position that’s covered by the FEHB Program.


About Author

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


  1. What if this employee were to suspend rather than cancel their FEHB plan? For example, could this employee preserve their right to re-enroll in an FEHB plan, even once they had retired, at a future date/open season, provided they had established their initial five year eligiblity requirement for FEHB coverage before they suspended their coverage, should they need to ever reinstate their FEHB?

    It is my understanding for any retired military or other Tricare eligible federal civilian employees that our Tricare will count for years of eligible medical coverage (five years) for continuing eligibility for FEHB coverage into our federal civilian service retirement; however, it is also my understanding that Tricare is not considered an actual FEHB plan itself, meaning that if one were never enrolled in an FEHB offered plan during their active federal civilian service time that this person could not later once retired “enroll” in an FEHB plan offered to federal civilian employees and retirees during an open season if they desired to change from their Tricare to an FEHB plan option for their medical care. Is this true? Otherwise, I also believe I have read that if a retired military federal employee is covered by Tricare, it is my understanding this person could while still serving as an active federal employee join an FEHB plan and then suspend it providing them the opportunity to re-enroll into an FEHB plan, even once they have are in their federal civilian retirement, if the person ever wanted or needed to change their primary medical coverage from Tricare to FEHB. Is this also true? If so, does the military retiree have to wait until their final year of federal civilian service to during an open season to exercise this option or could the serving federal employee enroll in an FEHB plan during any open season and then suspend their coverage to preserve future FEHB eligibility? If an employee did this, how long would they have to initially remain enrolled in the selected FEHB plan before suspending the FEHB plan (for example, would they have to actually pay any minimum number of FEHB plan premiums or could they immediately suspend coverage once they were advised of their successful enrollment in an FEHB plan by official notification) in order to simply reserve their option to carry FEHB plan eligibility into their retirement years, even if they are most likely remain with Tricare for Life? It does seem that with all the future uncertainty regarding health care coverages, costs, and options that any federal government worker, who is also eligible for Tricare, might be wise to have both an FEHB actual plan enrollment and Tricare for Life coverage eligibility options in their retirement years. Thank you, in advance, for your thoughtful reply and answers concerning this important matter.

    • A retiree who is eligible to do so may suspend his FEHB coverage to enroll in TRICARE of CHAMPVA. And any retiree may suspend his FEHB coverage to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan under Medicare Part C.

      • What is the procedure for suspending MHCP, I am retired military and over 65.
        Can I suspend using my computer?
        Details please. I am inquiring for a disabled Military spouse and federal employee.

        • Unfortunately, I’ve never heard of MHCP so I can’t help you. You might try typing that acronym into your computer browser and see if it will take you to a site that will be of help.

  2. When did OPM start allowing employees to drop FEHB? I remember in the early 1980’s working in Personnel at an Agency and handing out the FEHB enrollment forms (SF-2809). There was an “I Decline” block, but a statement included that you certified that you were covered under another Group Health Insurance plan. We were instructed to tell employees that they were not allowed to drop FEHB unless they could prove they were covered by another plan, like their spouse’s.

    • Crystal Retana on

      I began eligible for CHAMPVA and wanted to either cancel or suspend my FEHB plan, is this possible to do or will I have to wait til open season?

      • You can suspend your FEHB coverage at any time after you enroll in CHAMPVA. Do not even think about cancelling your FEHB coverage. If you did that, you wouldn’t be able to reenroll in the FEHB program if CHAMPVA didn’t work our for you.

  3. I made a mistake to join another part d health plan will I be dropped from my FEHB insurance or I am able to cancel the the other plan before it take effect

    • What you do with Medicare Part D will have no affect on your FEHB enrollment. If you want to drop Part D, you’ll have to call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and talk with them about dropping your enrollment.

  4. Could you please help me?-I have been trying to cancel my TSA paid insurance, since enrolling in another plan-(I did this during open enrollment-) Please tell me the procedure to cancel, as I have attempted to find help through phone calls, e-mail, and written letters ,but to no avail- I retired in 2010 from TSA-I sincerely hope this e-mail solves my problem, as I have been covered by my new insurance for a month-Thank you for any help you can provide- Yours truly, George A Humphrey 938 Brighton Rd. Tonawanda, N.Y. 14150 Ph.# (716) 418-3837)- e-mail

    • You must not be talking about plans in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. If you were, you would have changed your enrollment during the recent open season and the change wouldn’t be effective until January. Since I’ve never heard of “TSA paid insurance,” I can’t be of any help without a clearer explanation of the kind of insurance you want to drop and what kind you’ve changed to.

      • Aw man. I wish I had read down this far. I’m an active employee. During open season I enrolled in FEHB while covered by Tricare Prime. Now its February and I’m realizing that’s going to cost me a lot of money, not only in premiums – but also in increased pharmacy costs. I can’t use Tricare’s Express Scripts home delivery service with other insurance. I have to use the FEHB plan’s home delivery service. With my barebones FEHB plan that means I have to pay much more. I haven’t yet figured out if Tricare will pick up the uncovered cost, but at best it will require me to submit separate claims to Tricare after FEHB pays. I’m stuck paying $128 in FEHB premiums per pay period until next open season. Cannot cancel FEHB till then. Wait until the last Open Season before retirement to enroll? I read this article during open season – but I didn’t read far enough. Read the Q&A too!

  5. My name is Ronnie Hass and I am a retired civil servant. I was covered by FEHB but I chose on 19th Dec. 2020 to leave the Benefits program to join a Medicare plan. As I stated I sent the appropriate form to do so; when will this change show up on my pay statement. Thanks

  6. I am 91 years-old, a Fed retiree who has had FEHB for myself and my wife, 88 Y/O for many years now.

    OPM’s FEHB is deducting over $1000 each month from my annuity, which is somewhat paltry and I could definitely use that money for mortgage and other monthly expenses.

    We have been enrolled in Kaiser Senior Advantage HMO for nearly 2 decades.

    My dilemma is this: If I cancel my FEHB enrollment by filling out the appropriate Form (which I have) and sending it to OPM, will OPM then disenroll my wife and I from the Kaiser Senior Advantage HMO Medicare plan and leave us suddenly without ANY coverage at all?

    I surely could use that $1000 that OPM is deducting from my monthly annuity—as it stands, by the time the FEHB has been deducted, I am left with only $1600 a month.

    I worked for various Federal entities over the last 65+ years and actually only officially retired from my 60+ hour work week DOD position in 2014, at the very ripe old age of 84.

    Again, my dilemma is that, if I send that form in, I might gain $1000 a month, however, I and/or my wife could be suddenly be left high and dry w/o coverage and at our respective ages, anything catastrophic could occur at ANY time, so, am at a loss as to how to proceed at this point.

    Kaiser Permanente and their “medicare specialists” were thoroughly UNABLE to advise me on this issue.

    Any enlightenment and/or elucidation on your part, Mr. jones, would be very greatly appreciated.


    Richard N. Schowengerdt

    • The last thing you should do is cancel your FEHB coverage. What you should do is find a plan that covers your needs at a better price. You can do that by going to, clicking on your state, and seeing which plans provide coverage in your area. Then you can compare the benefits with the costs and make an election that will become effective on January 1, 2022. You have until close of business on December 13 to do that.

  7. I and my wife are currently health insured by Medicare A and B, Tricare for Life and thru the FEHB
    Program with Kaiser Permanente. I want to terminate the FEHB Kaiser insurance and it’s expense while retaining Medicare and Tricare coverage. How and when can I accomplish this?

  8. Michael Ambrosio on

    I have joined an Aetna Insurance supplement plan @ no cost to me last month! I am covered by Medicare A & B, and the VA as well. Since I do have both extensive coverages, I am dropping MHBP thru Aetna (which is not the Aetna I enrolled in) but part of the Federal Govt Insurance. Who do I have to contact to cancel the MHBP policy …is it OPM?

    • Call OPM’s Retirement Information line at 1-888-767-6738 and talk to one of their benefits specialists. Just be aware that as a retiree, once you have cancelled your Federal Employee Health Benefits plan coverage, you can’t re-enroll in any of its plans at a later date unless you are re-employed by the federal government.

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