If you are eligible for Federal Long Term Care Insurance, as most federal employees and retirees are, you can enroll either before or after retirement and be eligible for the same benefit choices. However, there are several considerations to bear in mind when deciding whether to buy sooner or later. These include:
Premiums are based on your age at enrollment; therefore the longer you wait, the higher they will be, no matter what benefit options you choose.
Those who take out the coverage and then separate without eligibility for an immediate annuity no longer would have the option of enrolling for the first time. However, they could continue existing coverage (although they would have to make payments directly or arrange automatic deductions from a financial institution account).
Similarly, eligible family members who already are covered can continue coverage after the related individual separates or retires from service but they could not newly enroll.
Parents of active employees are eligible to enroll but parents of retirees aren’t. Thus, an employee who might want to get his or her parents on an LTC policy would have to do it before separating for retirement.
In order for a surviving spouse of a federal employee or a surviving spouse of a federal annuitant to be eligible to apply, he/she must be eligible for a federal survivor annuity (although if the survivor had previously enrolled the coverage would continue as long as premiums were paid).