Expert's View

This is the third in a series of articles about life events and how they might affect your Federal Employees Health Benefits and Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance. I started with impact of marriage, then I focused on considerations related to children. This time I’ll point out what you need to know if you are separated or divorced.

FEHB benefits while separated
If you are legally separated (or in the process of getting an annulment or a divorce) and are enrolled in either the Self Plus One or Self and Family option of your FEHB plan, your spouse will be entitled to continue that coverage.


FEHB benefits when your marriage ends
Your ex-spouse’s FEHB coverage ends at midnight on the day your annulment or divorce is final. At that point, he or she can decide whether to continue that coverage 1) under the spouse equity act, 2) under the temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) provision, or 3) by converting to an individual policy with your FEHB carrier. You’ll find a detailed explanation of these options at

If after a divorce you still have children covered under your enrollment, you can stay with the Self and Family option or, if there is only one eligible, you can move to Self Plus One. If no one else is covered under your FEHB enrollment, you can switch to Self Only. You will also be able to switch to another plan or option.

If you want to make a change, you’ll have to do that within 60 days after your marriage ends. You can do it by filling out a Standard Form 2809 and submitting it to your agency personnel office (or OPM if you are a retiree). A copy of the form can be downloaded at

FEGLI designation of beneficiary
If you are covered by the FEGLI program, you’ll need to check to see who you designated to receive the proceeds of your policy if you die. If you named your spouse, you may want to change that designation now that you are divorced. To make a change, complete a Standard Form 2823, which you can download at .

Note on survivor annuity
While this series focuses on insurance considerations, divorce also has an important impact on survivor annuity policy to bear in mind. You are required by law to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse, that requirement ends when your annulment or divorce is final. To avoid any future problems, you’ll have to let your agency know (or OPM if you are a retiree) that your marriage had ended.

Report: What Happens to Your Federal Employee Benefits in Divorce?

Live Events and Your Insurance – Children

Life Events and Your Insurance – Marriage

Benefits if You Leave Government before Retirement Eligibility

2021 Has a Quirk in the Calendar for Picking a Fed Retirement Date

The Most Common FERS Retirement Questions

The Most Common Questions About CSRS

FERS Retirement Planning Bundle: 2022 FERS Guide & TSP Handbook