Premiums are deducted from an annuity just as they are from the paychecks of active employees—only once a month rather than biweekly—and retirees also participate in the annual open seasons in which enrollees may change coverage. There also are several situations in which changes are allowed outside of open seasons, as described below.

The cost of the FEHB program is shared by you and the government, under a formula established in law. The same share applies to both active employees and to retirees.

However, for retirees, FEHB coverage is effectively more expensive than it is for employees since retirees cannot use the tax-advantaged “premium conversion” arrangement for paying premiums. There is a limited exception for retired “public safety officers,” such as law enforcement officers and firefighters. Also, retirees may not participate in flexible spending accounts, which allow active employees to set aside part of their salaries to be used for medical and dental expenses not covered by health insurance, as well as copayments, deductibles and coinsurance required by health insurance.

There are no application procedures. Once your retirement becomes effective, your coverage will automatically be transferred to the Office of Personnel Management, which will be responsible for processing your retirement and providing you assistance as a retiree.

If you do not want health insurance to continue in retirement, you will need to send a completed SF 2809 (Health Benefits Registration Form) canceling your coverage along with your retirement package.