Eligibility Federal employees are allowed to continue their health benefits coverage after they retire if they meet certain conditions. Generally. to continue FEHB coverage as a retiree, you must retire on an immediate annuity, and you must have been continuously enrolled under the FEHB program (or covered as a family member) for the five years of service immediately preceding your retirement. If less than five years, you must have been continuously enrolled under the FEHB program for all service since your first opportunity to enroll. While you can count your coverage under Tricare toward meeting this requirement, to continue coverage in retirement, you must be enrolled in an FEHB health plan on the date you retire.
Please note that continuous enrollment includes separate periods of federal employment interrupted by a break in service, as long as FEHB coverage was in effect at the time of the break and has been continuous since the break, and the combination totals five years.
Employees who separate and are eligible for a deferred annuity cannot begin health insurance coverage when their deferred annuity begins. Employees must retire on an immediate annuity to be eligible to continue their health insurance coverage. For employees retiring under FERS, an immediate annuity includes one based on the minimum retirement age and ten years of service, even though the employee may postpone receipt of that annuity to a later date.
After retirement, the government continues to pay the same contribution that is paid for active employees. The applicable rate of the retiree’s share of the premium will be deducted from the monthly retirement annuity check. If the annuity is not enough to cover the health insurance premiums, the premiums can be paid directly to OPM. Federal employees and retirees, excluding Postal Service employees, pay the same amount for their premiums. However, when postal employees retire, they no longer receive an additional amount toward their cost of health insurance, which requires them, as retirees, to pay the same as all other federal workers and retirees.
Retirees who are enrolled for self and family can have family members continue coverage until such time as they become ineligible. For example, this would apply when a child reaches the age of 26, or marries. However, the widow(er) of a federal retiree who did not elect a minimum Survivor Annuity Benefit is not eligible for FEHB insurance after the retiree’s death. A deceased employee must have been enrolled for self and family at the time of death. All survivors who meet the definition of “family member” continue their health benefits coverage under the enrollment as long as any one of them is entitled to a survivor annuity.