Suspending and Restarting FEHB

By on December 3, 2014 in Q&A with 3 Comments

Q: I have been told that when you retire you can request to suspend your FEHB and at a later open season or qualifying life event restart it. I would like to know if this is true and how it can be accomplished.

A: You can suspend your FEHB after retirement, but only in limited situations. Those situations are:

  1. to enroll in Tricare for Life (military retirees) or CHAMPVA (spouses/survivors of certain veterans);
  2. to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (if eligible for Medicare); and
  3. to enroll in the Peace Corps health plan (if you join the Peace Corps after retiring).

I just double-checked on the OPM website and TRICARE, not just TFL, qualifies you to suspend your coverage. If you do not qualify under one of the above situations, you are not allowed to suspend your FEHB after retirement.  You sure don’t want to drop it after retirement, as you will not be allowed to re-enroll.

John Grobe’s latest book, The Answer Book on Your Federal Employee Benefits, has just been released by LRP Publications. The book is written in an easy to understand question and answer format and covers all areas of federal benefits from the perspective of an employee at various stages of their career. Order your copy at

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About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a consulting firm that specializes in federal retirement and career transition issues. He is also affiliated with TSP Safety Net. John retired from federal service after 25 years of progressively more responsible human resources positions. He is the author of Understanding the Federal Retirement Systems and Career Transition: A Guide for Federal Employees, both published by the Federal Management Institute. Federal Career Experts provides pre-retirement seminars for a wide variety of federal agencies.