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Frequently Asked Questions Insurance

Health

  • No. Employees may not suspend their coverage. However, they can cancel their coverage to use CHAMPVA, TRICARE or TRICARE-for-Life. Employees who do not participate in premium conversion may cancel their enrollment at any time. For employees who participate in premium conversion, eligibility for CHAMPVA or TRICARE is not a qualifying life event that would allow them to cancel their FEHB enrollment. These employees may cancel during any annual FEHB Open Season.

    If an employee who canceled FEHB coverage to use CHAMPVA, TRICARE or TRICARE-for-Life decides to return to FEHB coverage, the employee can do so during a future Open Season. If the employee loses CHAMPVA, TRICARE or TRICARE-for-Life coverage involuntarily, the employee can immediately reenroll in the FEHB Program.

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  • The effective date of the Open Season change is the first day of the first full pay period in January. For annuitants this date will always be January 1.
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  • When children reach age 26, they are eligible to enroll in Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) or convert to an individual policy.  It is the responsibility of you or your child to know when he/she is no longer eligible for coverage and to apply for TCC or a conversion policy in a timely manner. Your employing office is not obligated to inform you of your child’s eligibility for TCC and conversion rights when he/she is no longer eligible for coverage.

    TCC:

    If a child loses coverage under your enrollment because he/she reaches age 26, he/she is eligible for TCC. You must contact your Human Resources Office within 60 days of your child’s 26th birthday to inform them that your child is turning age 26.  Your Human Resources Office will give you information about enrolling your child in TCC or converting your child to an individual policy.  Your child has 60 days to request enrollment for TCC from the later of (1) his/her 26th birthday or (2) the date of the TCC notice from the Human Resources Office. For more information about TCC, please review the TCC coverage pamphlet at www.opm.gov/insure/health/eligibility/tcc.

    Conversion:

    If a child loses coverage under your enrollment because he/she reaches age 26, he/she is entitled to convert to an individual policy offered by the carrier of your plan. Your child is not required to provide evidence of insurability.  To apply for conversion, you or your child must make a written request to the carrier of your plan.  You or your child must apply for conversion within 31 days after his/her 26th birthday.  For more information about conversion, please visit http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/reference/handbook/FEHB15.asp#31.

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    • OPM's Office of Retirement Programs website. The site provides various categories of information including the questions most frequently asked by annuitants and survivor annuitants.
    • During the year, you may request information such as verification of annuity or the value of life insurance as well as make changes to your own retirement account, such as federal and state income tax withholding changes, by calling OPM on the toll-free number 1-888-767-6738, TDD for the hearing impaired 1-800-878-5707, or send email to retire@opm.gov. The automated telephone system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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  • When you retire, you are entitled to the full government contribution.
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  • Yes, if you are eligible for this TRICARE program, you can suspend your FEHB coverage.
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  • Yes. There are a few things an employee should consider. First, to be eligible to continue FEHB coverage after retirement, a retiring employee must be enrolled or covered under the FEHB Program for the five years of service immediately before retirement, or, if less than five years, for all service since the first opportunity to enroll. Employees can count their coverage under TRICARE toward meeting this requirement. However, the employee must be enrolled in an FEHB health plan on the date of retirement to continue coverage.

    Second, if the employee dies when the cancellation is in effect, any surviving spouse will not be eligible to continue FEHB health benefits coverage.

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  • You must apply within 60 days of:
    • the date your marriage ended, or
    • the date the employing office notified you that your qualifying court order (or your former spouse's election) entitled you to coverage, whichever is later.
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  • Employee Express is an innovative automated system that Federal employees use to make their personnel and payroll transactions electronically.
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  • During the annual Open Season, OPM sends Open Season material to all those enrolled in the FEHBP plus those who have suspended their enrollments to enroll in a Medicare-sponsored plan approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), formerly the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) and to enroll in TRICARE.
    • OPM provides Open Season Express, an operator supported toll-free telephone service for retirees to call to request brochures, health benefits satisfaction surveys, and make enrollment changes using telephone technology. The phone number is 1 (800) 332-9798.
    • OPM also provides an interactive Open Season website at retireefehb.opm.gov/.
    • There are other events that allow retirees or their survivors to make enrollment changes -- such as a move out of the service area of an HMO, enrollment in Medicare, or a change in marital status. These events are given in the FEHB Handbook. During the year, annuitants should call OPM on the toll-free number 1-888-767-6738, TDD for the hearing impaired 1-800-878-5707, or send email to retire@opm.gov. Annuitants in the Washington DC local calling area should dial (202) 606-0500, or (202) 606-0551 for the hearing impaired.
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