By Reg Jones
Q: I am 53 years old and have 36 years of federal service. One catch: I don’t have the five years of coverage under a Federal Employees Health Benefit plan (I’m still four years short). If my office offers early out through downsizing or restructuring, approved by the Office of Personnel Management, can I retire and carry my health benefits into retirement, even though I don’t have five years of coverage?
A: Yes, you would be eligible to carry your coverage into retirement because you would have been enrolled in the program at the time your agency received approval from OPM to offer early retirements. Your agency would attach a memo to your retirement application stating that you meet the requirements for an immediate waiver of the five-year rule.
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