How Do You Change FEHB Enrollment During Retirement?
This article examines Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage and how retirees can change the policy due to specific life-changing events. Although many federal employees are conversant with how and when they may do an overall change in the Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage, other options are applied and evaluated for retirees.
Just like active employees, retirees may also rewrite their enrollment during the annual open season, which runs from mid-November to mid-December. Other openings, however, exist for changing coverage because of changes in circumstances and life events. The options for changing FEHB coverage mainly include:
• Reducing from family or self plus one to self only due to a reduction in family size. This reduction could result from losing a spouse. Retirees and active employees could also downgrade from family to self plus one for the same reason. The reduction could also be owing to the last child outgrowing the policy age, which is 26. As people grow and family members, especially the children, become more independent, a policy change is expected to go in tune with new family size and previously unforeseen life circumstances.
• Active employees and retirees who relocate may need to consider changes in FEHB policy. Moving away from the service area of your health maintenance organization registered under the policy, for instance, can demand a change of plan. The policy change, for this reason, of course, is reasonable due to a need to initiate a new health maintenance organization close to your new location.
• Changing to family coverage or a self plus one coverage due to change in marital status, childbearing, or the case of adoption. Federal employees and retirees who get married, give birth, or adopt a child will consider adjusting their policy to cover their new family member; wife or husband, child, or both, as the case may be.
• For retirees, there is an option of changing to a lower cost option because of Medicare which they become qualified for at 65. Those fraction of federal employees who never stop working at that age remains under FEHB with the choice to change their health insurance policy upon retirement. This situation does not involve active employees. Switching to a lower-cost Health Benefits coverage is open to retirees when they attain 65. The option becomes available for active employees who are 65 when they retire, not before.
It is also good to note that as a retiree, you are not allowed to enroll anew for FEHB except you return to federal employment. Every new federal employee gets to enroll in the scheme automatically. Being rehired as an annuitant will make retirees eligible for the program as active employees.
Another significant difference is the point of contact for active-duty employees and retirees. Active employees transact with their agency’s personnel offices or a programmed machine operated by the office to make enrollment changes. At the same time, retirees have to go through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).