Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Divorce and health benefits

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Q. I have worked for the Veterans Affairs Department as a civilian for more than five years. My wife always handled the health care insurance under her company’s program, so I never took advantage of mine. We are now in our 18th month of divorce and I would like to go on my health care program under my benefits at VA. My human resources department says I need a divorce decree to be able to get coverage. My wife is about to lose her job, so I am worried that I may be without coverage. What should I do?

A. If your wife loses her coverage as a result of losing her job, you might be able to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program under Code 1M of the Office of Personnel Management’s Table of Permissible Changes in Enrollment. Check with your personnel office. If you don’t, you’d have to wait until the next open season to enroll.

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