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Insurance FAQs Health

  • A. In order for you to continue your health benefits enrollment into retirement, you must: (1) be entitled to retire on an immediate annuity under a retirement system for civilian employees (including the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) + 10 retirement; and (2) have been continuously enrolled (or covered as a family member) in any Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program plan(s) (not necessarily the same plan) for the five years of service immediately before the date your annuity starts, or for the full period(s) of service since your first opportunity to enroll (if less than 5 years). The 5 year requirement period can include the following: the time you are covered as a family member under another person's FEHB enrollment; or the time you are covered under the Uniformed Services Health Benefits Program (also known as TRICARE) as long as you were covered under an FEHB enrollment at the time of your retirement.
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  • If you provide documentation to your retirement system that you are suspending your FEHB coverage to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may reenroll in FEHB if you later lose or cancel your Medicare Advantage plan coverage. However, you must wait until the next Open Season to reenroll in FEHB, unless you involuntarily lose your coverage under the Medicare Advantage plan (including because the plan is discontinued or because you move outside its service area). In this case, you may reenroll from 31 days before to 60 days after you lose the Medicare Advantage plan coverage, and your reenrollment in FEHB will be effective the day after the Medicare Advantage plan coverage ends (or ended).
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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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  • Yes, if you are eligible for this TRICARE program, you can suspend your FEHB coverage.
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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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  • You will be covered only for emergency care. Unless your HMO has a "reciprocity" agreement with a plan in your new area that allows you to get routine care, you must travel back to your HMO for care, or change plans. You can change plans anytime after moving; contact your retirement system.
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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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  • 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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  • Yes.  Spouses of federal annuitants are covered under a family enrollment in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program during the divorce process and during a legal separation.  Spouses of annuitants lose eligibility for FEHB coverage when the divorce is final.  Former spouses of annuitants can apply for coverage in the FEHB Program under the Spouse Equity or Temporary Continuation of Coverage provisions of the FEHB law. Former spouses of annuitants must contact the annuitant’s retirement system within 60 days after the divorce to apply.   For more information on divorce after retirement, please visit http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/faq/divorce.asp.
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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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  • You can reenroll in the FEHB Program for any reason during a future Open Season. If you are involuntarily disenrolled from TRICARE or CHAMPVA, you are eligible to immediately reenroll in the FEHB Program. Your request to reenroll must be received within the period beginning 31 days before and ending 60 days after your TRICARE or CHAMPVA coverage ends. Otherwise, you must wait until Open Season.
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  • The employing office bills you for each pay period (generally each month) you are covered.
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  • Contact your ex-spouse's agency Human Resources Office (or retirement system, if applicable) for information on how to enroll. You will need to document your eligibility. You will be required to submit a certified copy of the court order to the US Office of Personnel Management, Court Ordered Benefits Branch, P.O. Box 17, Washington DC 20044-0017. This office will review the court order to determine if you qualify to enroll. The Court Ordered Benefits Branch will issue a letter notifying you of their findings. Since it may take a few months for this notification to be sent, you should contact your former spouse's Human Resources Office and request to enroll in TCC. The notification from the Court Ordered Benefits Branch will provide instructions on enrolling under the Spouse Equity provisions of the law.
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  • You should obtain, complete and return a waiver/election form to your employing office. You may waive participation in premium conversion (or elect to participate, if you previously waived) during the annual FEHB Open Season. Also, you may have the opportunity to waive participation in premium conversion if you've experienced a Qualifying life event (QLE). Refer to the QLE section for more information. FEHB Open Season During the FEHB Open Season, you will have an opportunity to elect or waive your participation in premium conversion. An Open Season election to participate or waive participation in premium conversion must be received by your employing agency no later than the last day of the Open Season to be considered timely filed. The effective date of your election will be the same as the effective date of an FEHB enrollment election: the first payroll period that begins on or after January 1st. If your agency accepts and processes a late Open Season enrollment election, it must also accept a late election to participate or waive participation in premium conversion. Because elections begin with pay periods, when you change participation in premium conversion (begin or waive participation) during the FEHB Open Season, there will likely be at least one payroll paid date in the subsequent calendar year in which your FEHB deductions reflect the previous election. Example Mark G. had previously waived participation in premium conversion. He opted to participate again in premium conversion during the November 2002 Open Season. Mr. G. is paid on a biweekly basis, with the following payroll periods: Payroll Begin Date End Date Pay Date Pre-Tax/ After-tax 01 12/15/02 12/28/02 1/8/03 after-tax 02 12/29/02 1/11/03 1/22/03 after-tax 03 1/12/03 1/25/03 2/5/03 pre-tax Mr. Marks' payroll office would treat his FEHB deductions on an after-tax basis through the end of payroll period 02.
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  • To qualify for Spouse Equity coverage, submit an application to your former spouse's Human Resources Office (or, if applicable, the former spouse's retirement system) within 60 days after your divorce. To be eligible, you must have been covered as a family member under your spouse's FEHB Program enrollment at least one day during the 18 months prior to divorce and you must have future entitlement to receive a portion of your spouse's retirement annuity or a survivor annuity. Also, if you remarry prior to age 55 you will lose this coverage. If you do not qualify under the Spouse Equity provisions, you may be eligible for coverage under the Temporary Continuation of Coverage provisions. You may also convert to a private policy.
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Total Count: 575, Number of Pages: 39, Page: 3
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