This is the third article in a series dealing with common misconceptions about federal retirement. These articles are written by John Grobe and Ehren Clovis.
Myth-conception: You and your spouse must have been enrolled in the same health insurance plan for 5 calendar years before your retirement in order to have Family coverage in retirement.
Reality: You (and only you) must have been enrolled in (or covered under) the Federal Employees Health Benefits PROGRAM (not any one plan within the Program) for the 5 years of actual service immediately before retirement. Spouses can be covered in retirement after less than 5 years of coverage while the retiree was working – in fact, retirees can change from Self Only coverage to Self and Family coverage in retirement!
This common misunderstanding probably flows from the numerous variables that must be addressed in Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) requirements. Here’s what the FEHBP Handbook states with regard to eligibility to continue FEHB coverage into retirement:
You are eligible to continue health benefits coverage, upon retirement, if you meet all of the following requirements: