Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

CSRS survivor benefits and health benefits

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Q. I am a CSRS employee. Upon retirement, I would like to know what minimum percentage/amount of survivor benefit has to be in effect for my husband to continue to receive health benefits if I pre-decease him. Does the annuity have to be enough to cover the premium? If so, what would happen if the insurance rates increased dramatically over time and the annuity no longer covered 100 percent of the premium? My husband is willing to provide a notarized “less than all” annuity base. The bottom line is that I want to carry only enough survivor benefit to ensure health benefits.

A. Because you are covered by CSRS, with your husband’s written consent, you could elect an annuity as small as $1. That would entitle him to continue his FEHB coverage if you were to die. If his annuity was insufficient to cover the premiums, he could pay them directly to OPM.

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