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You are eligible to continue health benefits coverage after you retire if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You are entitled to retire on an immediate annuity under a retirement system for civilian employees;
  • You have been continuously enrolled (or covered as a family member) in any FEHB plan for the 5 years of service immediately before the date your annuity starts, or for the full periods of service since your first opportunity to enroll (if less than 5 years);
  • You are enrolled in FEHB on the date of retirement.

If you do not meet the 5-year requirement for continuing health insurance into retirement, you may be eligible for an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) pre-approved waiver to this requirement if:

  • You have been covered under the FEHB program continuously since October 1 of the fiscal year; and
  • You retire during the Department of Defense Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay (VSIP) period; and
  • You receive a VSIP; or
  • Take early optional retirement; or
  • Take a discontinued service retirement based on an involuntary separation due to Reduction in Force, directed reassignment, reclassification to a lower grade, or abolishment of position.

If you are not eligible to continue your health insurance into retirement, you may be eligible to temporarily continue coverage for up to 18 months under the provisions of Temporary Continuation of Coverage. Your retirement specialist will provide additional information about this option if you are ineligible to continue coverage as a retiree.

The cost of your health insurance after you retire is the same as the cost for an active Federal employee, except your premiums are paid monthly rather than biweekly. Premiums are withheld on an after-tax basis (you are not eligible to participate in FEHB Premium Conversion after you retire unless you are a reemployed annuitant and health insurance premiums are withheld from your salary). If your annuity is not large enough to cover your share of the premiums for your plan, you may either change to a lower cost plan or option (one in which your share of the premium is low enough to be withheld from your annuity) or pay your premiums directly to OPM.

After you retire, you can make changes to your health insurance during the Benefits Open Season or in conjunction with a qualifying life event. You will make enrollment changes directly with OPM.

Your eligible family members will continue to be covered under FEHB after your death if:

  • You were enrolled for self and family; and
  • A family member receives a survivor annuity.


When you become eligible for Medicare, you may change your FEHB enrollment to any available plan or option at any time beginning 30 days before you become eligible for Medicare. You may use this enrollment change opportunity only once. You may also change your enrollment during the Benefits Open Season or in conjunction with a qualifying life event.

If you continue to work after age 65, your FEHB will pay as the primary carrier and Medicare will be the secondary carrier. After you retire, Medicare will pay as the primary carrier and your FEHB plan will be the secondary carrier.



As a retiree, you can suspend your FEHB coverage to use your TRICARE coverage. You can reinstate your FEHB coverage during the Benefits Open Season or return to FEHB coverage immediately if you involuntarily lose this non-FEHB coverage.

To Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan

As a retiree, you can suspend your FEHB coverage to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. If you later want to reinstate your FEHB coverage, generally you may do so only at the next Benefits Open Season unless you involuntarily lose coverage or move out of the Medicare Advantage plan's service area.


  1. You are not required to make an election to continue your health insurance into retirement.
  2. Your enrollment information will be electronically transferred to OPM. Health insurance premiums are not withheld while you are receiving interim pay (before your retirement application has been finalized by OPM). After your retirement has been finalized, OPM will adjust your deduction to catch up for the payments that were missed during the transition.
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