Legal Reference

Former spouses may enroll for Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage in their own right if they meet the spouse equity requirements of the FEHB law. Former spouses of federal employees or retirees may not continue to receive FEHB coverage under the employee or retiree’s enrollment after divorce. OPM will not honor a court order requiring it to provide FEHB coverage to a former spouse, because federal law preempts state law in matters relating to the nature and extent of coverage or benefits.

To continue FEHB coverage after divorce the former spouse must:

(1) be covered as a family member under the employee/retiree’s FEHB enrollment for at least 1 day during the 18 months prior to divorce;

(2) be entitled to receive a portion of the retirement annuity after the employee retires or a survivor annuity at the time the employee/retiree dies;

(3) within 60 days after divorce, apply to the agency employing office where the federal employee worked at the time of divorce by submitting written notice that he or she wants to continue FEHB coverage under the spouse equity provisions of the FEHB law (if divorce occurred after retirement the employing office is the retirement system); and

(4) not remarry prior to age 55.

An individual who qualifies as a former spouse must enroll for FEHB coverage in his or her own right and must pay both the employee’s and the government’s share of the premium. Coverage is prospective from the first day of the pay period after the employing office receives all properly completed qualifying documents.