Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

FEHB program coverage

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Q. I was a Miltec for the army and I took a postponed retirement in 2008. Up to that point I had medical coverage under the FEHB program for five years. I have reentered Miltec status and have medical coverage, but will retire before I have five years of medical coverage for this period of service. Will I still have medical coverage after retirement or will I lose it because I didn’t have medical coverage for this period of service for 5 consecutive years? Read the rest of this entry »

Switching family health coverage

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Q. I am a retired USPS employee. Presently, I am enrolled with BCBS with self and family option. My wife wants to get Medicare Part B and cease to be enrolled with my FEHBP. Can my wife re-enroll with my plan if she decides to do so later on? Read the rest of this entry »

Suspending FEHB in retirement

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Q. Can you suspend FEHB after retirement if you are eligible for Tricare? Can you elect to go back on FEHB if desired? How would you do this? Read the rest of this entry »

MRA health benefits

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Q. I am a reinstated federal employee with the Bureau of Prisons who is 59 years old and has 15 years of service time. I want to retire under the minimum retirement age and understand there is a five percent penalty for every year under the age of 62. But, am I able to keep my federal health insurance until I reach age 65?
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Leaving federal service

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Q. I am a federal employee (FERS employee from January 1988 to the present) who will likely be leaving federal employment for a private sector position in a different city. What happens to the following:
1. Can I either leave my money in the TSP account or roll it over; in any case, I am not touching the balance until I retire.
2. Am I correct that my retirement annuity freezes until I actually retire and that it would be based on the following calculation — years of service (.26) x the average of the high-3 annual salary?
3. Do I get a lump sum payout for annual leave?
4. Can I get my sick leave back if I return to federal service?
5. I know health care terminates after 30 days. But am I eligible to get any Federal health care after I retire from the private sector?

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FEHB re-enrollment after disability

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Q. I have been approved for Federal Retirement Disability after having applied for it almost 15 months ago. I am receiving interim payments. I was separated from my federal position before I applied and could not afford to pay for COBRA benefits during the time I waited to be approved. When could I anticipate receiving my health insurance benefits back? How will they calculate my portion of the health insurance premium? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS retirement

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Q. This is a two part question. I’m a FERS employee with a minimum retirement age of 56 1/2.
I would like to retire at my MRA if possible but want to make sure I understand the penalties and rules. First, I will be about 1 1/2 years short of 30 years with the government at age 56 1/2. It’s my understanding that I can still retire at that age but can postpone receiving an annuity to avoid the 5 percent per year penalty if I don’t take benefits until age 60. Is this correct?

Second, if I decide to postpone taking the annuity until age 60, I won’t be eligible to receive health care benefits until that time. I would need to find alternative health care during that gap between age 56 1/2 and 60. But would I be able to re-enroll again at age 60 with no issues?
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FEHB health benefits

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Q. I worked for the federal government for 18 years under the FERS plan. I was enrolled in the FEHB program for the entire length of my employment. I resigned in my 40s. I am now 57 and have been rehired as a government employee, and I have enrolled in the FEHB program once again. I am past my minimum retirement age at this point. If I retire in the next few years, am I eligible to keep my health benefits even though I will not have worked five years since I was re-employed?
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Deferred annuity and FEHB

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Q. I am 57 years and two months old. I have 21 years of federal service (FERS), including two years and 11 months of military buyback time. I am considering early retirement. I have maintained Federal Employees Health Benefits since I started 18 or so years ago. The human resources experts here are telling me that if I defer my retirement to age 60 (which I am eligible) that I can never again receive FEHB. I cannot find that statement anywhere. I have seen a local in-service slide presentation that you can defer retirement until age 60 or 62 and pick up health insurance at that time. Can you tell me what is correct in this scenario?

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Deferred/postponed annuity

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Q. Do I have any options for early retirement that will allow me to keep Federal Employees Health Benefits if I retire at age 52-55 with 20-23 years of service with a minimum retirement age of 57? I know I can take postponed, but then I lose FEHB. So I was wondering if there was any other way.

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Suspending FEHB

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Q. I retired from a federal agency in 2005 and have maintained my Federal Employees Health Benefits plan into retirement. I accepted employment at the county level where I live. They offer an excellent benefit package, including an attractive health plan. I’m thinking about working there for a few years, and I’m trying to find out what options are available to me as far as choosing which medical insurance to go with.

I recently heard about suspending my FEHB plan so I can reactivate it at a later date. If this is possible, I can take advantage of the county’s health benefits package while employed there, then re-enroll in my FEHB plan when I leave them in the future. While this sounds great, I am having trouble trying to find out all the details I should know about suspending my FEHB plan before I jump in. Can you help?

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Deferred annuity

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Q. I am a 60 percent disabled veteran, so I earn a disability income. When I started work at the Postal Service, I bought my military time back so it would count toward retirement, so my service date is Sept. 1, 2001 (actually started in 2006). I am 46 years old now and I am looking to leave the USPS within three to four years. What options do I have for retirement? Could you explain deferred annuity and any other options available to me?

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Suspending FEHB

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Q. I will become Medicare qualified as of April 1. Is it possible for me to suspend my coverage? If so, are there any penalty/requirements? Is there a waiting period to get back in to the plan?

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Applying for retirement

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Q. Do I have to be on active federal service to apply for retirement?  In other words, can I resign from my current GS job, not work and check the “retired scene” for a month or two (i.e. take a break), then apply for retirement if I so desire, but keep the option not to retire and apply instead for another job if I find not working to be boring?

And if my decision is to go ahead and retire, are there special requirements? How do I apply for retirement if/when I am not on current register?

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VSIP and health insurance

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Q. I am 52 years old, 25 years in FERS, potentially being offered a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. If I do the VSIP, I will be employable at my current salary outside the government.

If I take the VSIP, can I carry my Federal Employees Health Benefits into retirement if I pay for it?

Can I delay collecting my retirement until age 62 and carry my FEHB through to retirement?

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Deferred retirees and FEHB re-enrollment

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Q. I am considering leaving federal service. I have 13 years of service. I’m 59. No problem getting deferred annuity at 62. But I wanted to know if I can still get a health insurance option?

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FEHB into retirement

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Q. Reading some of the questions that are being answered, there is some confusion. Some say if you retire at your minimum retirement age, you will not be able to continue health care coverage, but you must wait to retire at 60 to be able to remain in program. Other answers have been you can have your health care coverage renewed when you reach 60 when you apply for your deferred annuity. Can you clear this up? If I retire at my MRA which is 56, will my health care coverage continue?

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Deferred annuity and FEHB

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Q. I am a rural carrier under FERS. I am 58 with 22 years. If I defer my pension until 60 to keep from getting the 5 percent-per-year penalty under 62, can I still get my health insurance now?

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Dropping wife from health insurance

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Q. I am a retired letter carrier. My wife has been on my Federal Employees Health Benefits since my retirement four years ago. She is enrolled in a graduate program and receives health insurance through her university. Can I drop her from my health insurance while she is covered by the university and then add her again when she graduates?

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Early retirement eligibility and keeping FEHB coverage

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Q. My husband has a rare syndrome, and his prognosis is only a couple years. He cannot be left alone during the day, and I cannot afford to pay someone to stay with him all day. I am age 50, and a GG-13 Step 7 with 15 years of government service (four years of active-duty time is included in this). Can I retire now (I am under FERS) and still keep my health insurance? What would I receive in pension, and what would be the cost of keeping my health insurance as I cannot afford to lose it due to all of his medical appointments?

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