Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Federal employment and health benefits

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Q. I have a friend considering moving from private industry to a government position. She is 51 with no government service. How long would she have to work for the government to be eligible for the Federal Employee Health Benefits program, and would there be an age restriction? She’s not concerned with an annuity payment so much as having health care after she retires.

A. She could enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program on the day she was hired. However, if she left government, she would be able to continue that enrollment only if she was covered for the five consecutive years before she retired and if she retired on an immediate annuity.

There are two times when she could do that: at age 62, when she would receive an unreduced annuity, or at 61 under the MRA+10 provision (minimum retirement age with at least 10 years of service). In the latter case, her annuity would be reduced by five-twelfths of 1 percent for every month she was under age 62.

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