Q. For years I’ve heard that any retiree could suspend his Federal Employees Health Benefits enrollment with the option of re-enrolling if needed. Is that true?
A. No, it isn’t. The only retirees who can do that are former members of the armed forces who wish to enroll in TriCare or CHAMPVA.
Please see section C on the form linked: https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/ri79-9.pdf You can also suspend your FEHB if enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
OPM also told me you can suspend your own FEHB if your spouse is also a Federal employee and you want to be under their health plan so you both can enjoy pre-tax dollars paying the fee as opposed to post-tax dollars as a retiree. They notified me you could reenter your own benefit again. However, I did notice on last years tax form that it now allows you to gain a tax credit for your payment of FEHB in retirement so giving you the same break as employees.
Thanks for sharing that with us.
Like the original poster, I have heard the same thing for years.
I am amazed at how much disinformation exists in the federal workplace, and how even “official” people share incorrect information.
So, I looked at the RI 79-9 mentioned by Elaine. I won’t re-state the information in my own words (that’s how incorrect information is started), but the form shows TWO ways to CANCEL one’s FEHB coverage and THREE ways to SUSPEND one’s FEHB coverage, and it provides the re-enrollment guidelines for each possibility. Anyone thinking about this matter should look at the RI 79-9 carefully, and should not rely on word-of-mouth information.
Thanks for your accurate and timely comments.