Q & A Session – Individual FEHBP Coverage and Retirement


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


Both my spouse and I are retired federal employees with an annuity. We enrolled in the Federal Health Plan in 1967. My spouse is enrolled as a member and I am the dependent. I retired in 2001 with 12 years of service. We are separated and I would like to enroll in a self-only policy. Am I eligible to enroll in a self-only policy? If so, can I enroll myself or does my spouse have to make the request?


Sorry. You are required to have individual Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) coverage for the 5 years preceding retirement in order to carry FEHBP entitlements into retirement. Find a way to continue to be the dependent.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.


  1. Is that correct? I believe that coverage under a family plan counts towards the five years needed prior to retirement.

  2. I thought the same. I retired at the end of 2010 and went on my wife’s FEHB as dependent for 2011 and plan to switch to individual for 2012. Please provide the reference to show this is not allowed. Thank you.

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