Reg Jones Expert's View

Reg Jones

This is the third in a series of articles about life events and how they might affect you. I started with the decisions you have to make when you get married, Then I focused on the birth, adoption or foster placement of children.

This time I’ll focus on the benefits implications if you are separated or divorced.

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FEHB Benefits While Separated

If your spouse is covered by your enrollment in either the self plus one or self and family option of your FEHB plan, that coverage will continue if you are legally separated or in the process of getting an annulment or a divorce.

FEHB Benefits after 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 own FEHB carrier. You’ll find a detailed explanation of these options at www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/reference-materials/reference/former-spouses.

If you have still have more than one family member eligible under your enrollment, you can stay with the self and family option or, if there is only one eligible member, 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), available at www.opm.gov/forms.

Survivor Annuity

While 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. Contact your personnel office for procedures.

Insurance

If you have coverage in the FEGLI program, you’ll want to check who you designated to receive the proceeds of your policy on your death. If you named your spouse, you may want to change that beneficiary designation. To make a change, complete a Standard Form 2823, available at the address above.

If your spouse was covered under your Federal Dental and Vision Insurance Program enrollment, that coverage ends on divorce and there is no provision for extending it. If your former spouse was enrolled in the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program, that coverage continues, so long as he or she continues to pay the premiums. In both cases, your ex-spouse could, however, enroll if otherwise eligible personally (such as being a federal employee himself or herself.)

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

What happens to your TSP if you go through a divorce?

2020 Federal Employees Handbook