Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

FEHB and surviving spouse

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Q. Where do I find specific details for the exception to let my surviving spouse continue in FEHB if I do not chose a partial or full survivor annuity? Or is there such an exception? In a 2013 Pre-Retirement Planning class manual dealing with Current Spouse Survivorship, it states surviving spouses who do not receive a survivor annuity cannot continue FEHB. It also states there is an exception for spouses married 30 years or more. I am retired Navy O-5 using both FEHB and Tricare Prime, married 37 years, and trying to decide what to do about health insurance when I retire after 10 years of FERS as a GS-14. I’m sure my FERS annuity will be large enough to warrant paying for the survivor annuity. Yet I am growing nervous about all the DOD proposed changes to Tricare.

A. The exception is not what you thought. Here’s the real story, according to OPM: “A Self and Family enrollment provides coverage for you and all eligible family members of the deceased employee or retiree … If you remarry before age 55, your coverage will end. However, if your survivor annuity continues because you were married to the deceased for 30 years or more, your coverage will continue, but it will not cover your new spouse and his or her dependents.”

 

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