Suspending FEHB

36

Q. I need to suspend my Federal Employees Health Benefits. I am turning 65 and am eligible for TRICARE for life. I have gone to several sites, and tried to call the Office of Personnel Management without success. Please help.

A. Here is the answer taken from OPM’s website:
How can annuitants or former spouses suspend FEHB coverage to use TRICARE or CHAMPVA?
They can apply to suspend their coverage at any time. Annuitants can call OPM’s Retirement Information Office at 1-888-767-6738 to obtain a suspension form. Callers within the local Washington, D.C., calling area must call 202-606-0500. Former spouses can get the form from the employing office or retirement system maintaining their enrollment. Eligible individuals must submit a completed suspension form and provide all necessary documentation to show eligibility for TRICARE or CHAMPVA during the period beginning 31 days before and ending 31 days after the date they designate as using TRICARE or CHAMPVA instead of FEHB coverage.

Share.

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.

36 Comments

  1. I’m turning 60 Jan 18. I would like the form to suspend my Blue Cross. Please mail it to Mark Frye 4302 Windward Drive St. Joseph Mo. 64505

    • You’ve come to the wrong place. This is the Federal Times, not the federal government. However, I checked and here is how you can get the form you want.

      How can annuitants or former spouses suspend FEHB coverage to use TRICARE or CHAMPVA?
      They can apply to suspend their coverage at any time. Annuitants can call OPM’s Retirement Information Office at 1-888-767-6738 to obtain a suspension form. Callers within the local Washington, DC calling area must call 202-606-0500. Former spouses can get the form from the employing office or retirement system maintaining their enrollment. Eligible individuals must submit a completed suspension form and provide all necessary documentation to show eligibility for TRICARE or CHAMPVA during the period beginning 31 days before and ending 31 days after the date they designate as using TRICARE or CHAMPVA instead of FEHB coverage.

        • kilhefner@gmail.com on

          FYI,
          I, today, Jan 15th, 2020, now have in my hands RI 79-9 Version 2017. I thought and told SHINE representative, my helper, whether he had found it in the Internet. He response was negative. So, Now I know that the form was sent (included to me) by OPM (after sending e-mail to retire@opm.gov with a long request) when they responded to me by sending me their (mine) latest “personalized federal retirement benefits booklet”. I got the first one when THEY retired me (after bone fractures and disease). Now, I see that many of you have not yet retire but my guess is that that you cannot be stopped from registering, using opm and if you have problems to log in in their website, you e-mail to them with your request. It is true that I do carry a CSA # when they retired me. Just use ALL vias to get your answers.
          RI 79-9 LASTEST REVISED VERSION MAY 2017 IS AVAILABLE.
          “From: xxxxxx@xxxxxxx
          Sent: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 12:57:19 AM
          To: “opm usps”
          Subject: Your attention please
          OPM
          Would you please send via usps to my home address the following, ASAP, if possible :
          1.- Annuity Statement/Verification of Income for csa for my benefits filing at Children and Families Department in my county
          2.- Include also the premium for feblue health insurance.
          3.- Please send me a new password because you continue giving me “error” in both, the new password created while being helped by the bank clerk and trusting her with it…. XXXXXXXXX ….,
          4.- …. if you did not accept it from me, 10 minutes ago,… my common sense tells me that it should not be accepted by any hacker as well …
          Thank you ”

          Keep copy of your contacts. The booklet brings lots of info that … well.. it is sad to tell. wish you the best of luck and good manners.

    • Find the Form R79-9 with google “suspending health insurance form R79-9 latest version” or go to
      https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/ri79-9.pdf . The bottom right corner will show the Ri79-9. It is only 2 pages. The second page will show the letters for every situation. The E it is for retirees with annual pension below a certain amount .. ( I do not remember what website I saw the amount) who are helped by their state to pay the premiums.
      you can also request the form by sending msg to RETIRE@OPM.GOV and they will request your csa number. Thu 12/17/2020 4:06 PM Thank you for your email inquiry.
      You may fax that form if you like to 202-606-1640. Sincerely, Theresa
      Retirement Operations
      Wish me luck. I will try to suspend and see what it will happen…

  2. I’m a military grey area retiree (Retired Reserve). I’m eligible for a military pension but I haven’t reached age 60 yet so the money won’t start for two more years. Once I start receiving my military pension I become eligible for Tricare Standard. Is there any reason to continue with my Blue Cross after I hit age 60 or should I just drop Blue Cross and go with Tricare Standard? By dropping Blue Cross I can save $7,000 in Blue Cross enrollment fees. The deductibles between the two plans look similar.

    Once I reach age 65 I plan on switching to Tricare For Life and Medicare Parts A & B.

    • To preserve your options, you should suspend your FEHB coverage, not drop it. That way you can preserve your right to activate that coverage if that becomes desirable.

    • The address is on the top of the form:
      U.S. Office of Personnel Management
      Retirement Operations
      Washington, DC 20415-3532

      • I received an address from OPM to send RI 79-9 and it was “US Office of Personnel Management Open Season Processing Center, Lawrence KS 66046” so which one is correct?

        • Send it to the address they gave you. For most of the year the address on the form is good; however, as OPM gears up for Open Season, they find it simpler to handle all FEHB enrollment matters at the address they gave you.

  3. NEED TO CANCEL MY BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD INS. IT IS A PROBLEM TO CONTACT SOMEBODY ON THE PHONE OR ON THE WEB SITE. NEED TO ASK A QUESTION ABOUT MY INS. PLEASE REACH ME AT THIS NUMBER 915-487-5942 OR 915-487-5049. I HAVE SEND YOU A REQUEST LETTER AND YOU SEND MY LETTER BACK AS UNCLAIMED. SO PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT IS MY STATUS ON MY INS.

  4. I have completed the OPM Form FI 79-9 to suspend my FEHB coverage because my wife and I have Medicare Part A & B and we also have Tri-Care for Life. I would like to know If I can fax the signed copy of the form to OPM and if I can, what is the fax number. Otherwise what is the address that I can mail the form and supporting documents (copy of the Medicare cards) to.

    • You’ll find the address at the top of the form’s first page. You can mail it and any accompanying material to that address.

  5. what happens to bills previously going to Blue Cross/Blue Shield for medical services that come in after the switch to TFL?

    • BC/BS will continue to be the primary payer and TFL the secondary payer unless you suspend your BC/BS coverage. If you do, TFL will be the sole payer.

  6. Edward M Cook on

    REG JONES, Thanks for all the info regarding suspending BC/BS. How long can I suspend the coverage? My wife is on the coverage with me (Self+one). She will be turning 65 several years before me and will be signing up for Medicare coverage + TFL. Is my wife required to be on my BC/BS coverage when I “suspend” in order to maintain her as a suspended (Self+One)? Or by taking her off the policy and then suspending it, it will only be “Self” that is suspended? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • No, you can’t suspend your coverage. However, you can change your enrollment from Self Plus One to Self Only during the upcoming FEHB Open Season.

  7. I am turning 65 in less than month and I want to suspend my FEHBP insurance, when I called I was told to donload the RI79-9 form and fill out ,sign and fax or mail with documetattions to support it. I am ready to fill out the RI79-9 form but I dont know what goes in the block in top section. can you please guide me what information should be entered in the block at top of the form?

    • Put your name and your CSA (Civil Service Annuitant) number in the two spaces on the right. Don’t put anything in the spaces on the left. They are for use by OPM.

  8. I forgot to mention that I have been already enrolled in Medicare part A & B and also I am enrolled in Medicare advantage to cover Part C & Part D.

  9. I called FEHB in the middle of December to tell them I wanted to cancel my coverage effective Dec. 31,2020. They took my info and forwarded my call to OPM (1-888-767-6738. They also took my information. But my Jan. 1st check was still withholding $650 for Blue Cross. Saturday I got a letter from Blue Cross saying my coverage was cancelled effective 11-30-2020. I don’t know how they came up with that date since I didn’t even call until the middle of December. They said I would owe them for any claims paid in December. When will I get a refund for the $650 they took out of my check Jan. 1st? Please help. Thank you.

    • You are entitled to a refund. If everything works as it should, it should show up in your February 1 annuity check. And that check should also reflect the fact that you are no longer having premiums deducted for Blue Cross coverage.

  10. Hello,
    I plan to suspend my FEHB by submitting an Ri-79-9 form. However, there are no instructions on how to fill this out. Page 1 has 4 blocks in the upper left corner. Is this for my name, address, phone number SS#? And in the upper right corner is a date and CS # (Claim number) – which, I assume is filled out by the receiving party or is the CS my SS#?
    I’ve googled for examples or instructions on how to fill this form out properly, but only get downloadable PDF forms.
    Thank you,
    D

    • Edit for above comment: I found that with a Firefox browser, moving the cursor over the empty boxes provide no pop up instructions, but with IE browser, the popups are there.
      Upper left hand boxes are for your name, address line 1, address line 2, city state zip.
      Upper right hand is the date and CS #. For this CS box, it states, “Enter recipients claim number”
      In another answer to a comment, I found that REG JONES stated this was the CSA (Civil Service Annuitant) number. I’m not sure if this is correct. Should this number be assigned by the Personnel Office?

      • The CS number is the CSA (Civil Service Annuitant) number. It’s the fastest way for OPM to access your case file.

  11. Connie Valentine on

    I need to suspend my blue cross blue shield federal health insurance as my new insurance will go into effect April 1, 2021. My CSA number is CSA 4 657 3850.

    • Call OPM’s Retirement Information Office at 1-888-767-6738. The office is open Monday through Friday from 7AM to 7PM Eastern time.

  12. You give the impression that you have to Cali opm to get the form. That is probably because that is what opm seems to imply on its web site. Why don’t you and opm point out it can be obtained on line which is easier than trying to get a call answered. By the way when my call was answered I asked why it was not available on line and found out it was. To get it mailed I had to give my CSA number and date of birth, why?

    • There are two possible reasons. One, to confirm that you are, in fact, a retiree. And two, to call up your file so that when your form arrives it can be processed more quickly.

Reply To Derek day Cancel Reply