FEDweek

Health and Life Insurance Benefits in Retirement

Over the last five articles I have described the rules governing a variety of different kinds of retirement and how the annuities for each are calculated. Now I want to talk about other benefits that are of concern to most retirees: health benefits, life insurance, survivor annuities and children’s benefits. This time around, I’ll deal with health and life insurance.

Health Benefits

To carry your health benefits coverage into retirement, you must have been enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program for the five consecutive years before the date on which you retire–or from your first opportunity to enroll, if you have transferred from a retirement system that didn’t offer FEHB coverage. It doesn’t make any difference in you have been enrolled in any one plan for those five years or if you have changed plans during that period.

However, if you have fewer than five years of coverage but are enrolled in the FEHB program when you are offered and accept early retirement or a buyout, the five year requirement will usually be waived. There are other, more limited, authorities for a waiver as well but these are rare.

If you are a FERS employee who retires under the MRA+10 provision, is eligible to carry your health insurance benefits coverage into retirement, and postpones the receipt of your annuity to a later date to reduce or eliminate the age penalty, you can reenroll in the FEHB program when your annuity begins.

Life Insurance

To carry your life insurance coverage into retirement, you must have been enrolled in the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program for the five consecutive years before the date on which you retire–or from your first opportunity to enroll, if you have transferred from a retirement system that didn’t offer FEGLI coverage.

While there is no waiver available if you don’t meet the five year requirement, if you are a FERS employee who retires under the MRA+10 provision, is eligible to carry your life insurance benefits coverage into retirement, and postpones the receipt of your annuity to a later date to reduce or eliminate the age penalty, you can reenroll in the FEGLI program when your annuity begins.