Hi, my name is Mike Lanway, I'm a financial planner. I'm an expert in federal employee benefits, and I'm here to help you decide what you need to do to make best use of those benefits to your advantage.
Federal Employee Health Benefits, the FEHB plans that are available to you at every open season from mid-November to mid-December, are really good plans that you ought to explore for your benefit and for the benefit of your family. Now, I understand that some of you are married or have partners who are working in a place where their insurance might be actually cheaper, and the coverage might be just as good, you say.
Again, I'll encourage you to make sure that you do an apples-to-apples comparison, and just don't assume it, but you know there are times where it makes sense for a FERS employee to get their health insurance elsewhere because of their partner or their spouse. Just want to make sure that you understand how FEHB works for retirement, should you decide that's something you actually want.
Here's the rule: you cannot qualify to have FEHB in retirement until you actually are 5 years away from your retirement date, your retirement eligibility date. So, whatever that date is, that actually determines, or sets the clock for, when you can begin to earn the right to keep the FEHB in retirement when you actually retire as a FERS employee.
So, if it looks as good elsewhere, you can do that. There is a little bit of hesitation that I have for you as a planner, just want to make sure you understand that if you pass away on another health plan, well then your spouse doesn't get the chance to keep this health plan the FEHB health plan for his/her retirement. Your partner doesn't get to keep that for his or her retirement. Just want to make sure you understand that.
If the case was reversed, if they were on your plan and then you pass away, they could keep that for the rest of their life, assuming they got a survivor benefit from you. There's some if's and butts in there, and there's some timing about how that works together. I just want to throw it out there, that it's a good plan and you want to consider it every year, should be something you consider every year.
"Here's the rule: you cannot qualify to have FEHB in retirement until you actually are 5 years away from your retirement date."
If you decide to get it elsewhere because of your spouse or partner coverage, it's fine, just understand the risk. When you decide you want it again, you can enroll during any open season. You don't have to have prior participation to enroll. As long as you're still an employee. Just make sure you understand that 5 year return.
We hope you enjoyed our video series on the different components of your retirement and your benefits. If you want to see more, learn more at your own pace, use our annual benefit statement. You'll see the link at the bottom and within the description. Go there, take a look at it, we think you'll be happy with what you see and and that it's going to help you.