Federal Employees Benefits
Employees should be aware of the benefits available to them, take appropriate action to secure coverage, and make note of the requirements to continue federal benefits as a retiree. The benefits available to Federal employees include health insurance, dental and vision supplemental insurance, flexible spending accounts, life insurance, and long-term care insurance. Choose from the drop-down below for a brief overview of each benefit program and the eligibility requirements for coverage in retirement.
Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program offers comprehensive health insurance to eligible federal employees, retirees, and their covered family members. There are over 200 plans with options that include Consumer-Driven and High Deductible plans, Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans and their Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO). The actual number of plans available to each employee or retiree varies by geographic location. Each plan offers three enrollment types: Self Only, Self Plus One, and Self and Family.
To continue health benefits coverage into retirement, employees must have:
1. Retired on an immediate annuity (that is, an annuity which begins to accrue no later than one month after the date of final separation); and
2. Been continuously enrolled (or covered as a family member) in any FEHB Program plan (not necessarily the same plan) for the five years of service immediately preceding retirement, or if less than five years, for all service since their first opportunity to enroll.
Note: Enrollment in TRICARE (the health insurance program for members of the uniformed services) also counts for fulfilling the “five-year” requirement. To learn more click here.
Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program
The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) is an ancillary benefit for which enrollees pay the full premium. Under FEDVIP, supplemental dental and vision benefits are available to two eligibility groups – Federal Civilians and Uniformed Services. Visit https://www.benefeds.com/eligibility for details on who falls under each eligibility group. Coverage automatically continues for employees that retire on an immediate or disability retirement. Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employees that postpone receipt of their annuity on a Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) plus 10 retirement may reenroll in FEDVIP once they begin to receive their annuity. Those in receipt of a deferred annuity are not eligible to enroll in FEDVIP. There is no 5-year requirement to continue FEDVIP into retirement. Retirees can enroll in FEDVIP for the first time as a retiree, even if they never enrolled as an employee, as long as they retire on an immediate annuity.
Visit https://www.benefeds.com/ to enroll in or change a FEDVIP enrollment. BENEFEDS is a secure enrollment website sponsored by the Office of Personnel Management. Those who wish to enroll or change enrollment may also call 1-877-888-FEDS (1-877-888-3337), TTY 1-877-889-5680.
To learn more click here.
Federal Flexible Spending Account Program:
The Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) is a payroll benefit that allows employees to allocate pre-tax money to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses. Since it is a payroll benefit, it is not available to retirees. The money contributed to FSAFEDS is not subject to payroll taxes, so enrollees end up paying less in taxes and taking home more of their paycheck.
Employees can use FSA funds to pay for a variety of expenses for themselves, their spouse, and dependents. The IRS determines which expenses can be reimbursed by an FSA.
There are three types of FSAs:
Health Care FSA (HCFSA) is used to pay for eligible medical, dental, and vision care expenses that are not covered by the enrollee’s health care plan or elsewhere. With an HCFSA, enrollees use pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified out-of-pocket health care expenses incurred by them, their spouse and children under age 26.
Limited Expense Health Care FSA (LEX HCFSA) is used to pay for a variety of dental and vision care products and services for the enrollee, their spouse, and dependent children under age 26. It is available to those enrolled in a High-Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account.
Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) is used to pay for eligible dependent care services, such as preschool, summer day camp, before or after-school programs, and child or adult daycare. It is a smart and simple way to save money while taking care of loved ones so that employees can continue to work.
To learn more about FSAFEDS click here.
Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance
The Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program provides group term life insurance to eligible federal employees, retirees, and their family members. There are two types of life insurance under the FEGLI Program: Basic and Optional. Eligible employees are automatically enrolled in Basic insurance, which covers the employee’s life at their annual rate of pay rounded up to the nearest whole $1,000 plus $2,000.
Employees may also elect Optional insurance under limited circumstances: within 60 days after appointment to an eligible position, due to a FEGLI qualifying life event, on an approved Request for Insurance (SF 2822), or during the FEGLI Open Season. The additional coverage under Optional insurance includes:
- Option A-Standard – equals $10,000 coverage on the employee’s life
- Option B-Additional – equals coverage on the employee’s life equal to one to five multiples of employee’s salary rounded up to the nearest $1,000
- Option C-Family – equals one to five multiples of coverage on the lives of the employee’s eligible family members. Each multiple of Option C equals $5,000 of coverage for a spouse and $2,500 of coverage for each eligible child. Generally, eligible children are employee’s unmarried dependent children under age 22.
Coverage can be carried into retirement if the 5-year or all-opportunity requirement is met. To learn more click here for the FEGLI Handbook.
Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program
The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) provides long term care insurance to help pay for the costs of care needed when the employee is unable to perform everyday tasks (activities of daily living) by themselves due to chronic illness, injury, disability or the aging process. FLTCIP includes the supervision they may need due to a severe cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer's disease).
Long-term care is not intended to cure, but rather to provide the care that may be needed for the rest of their lives. This care can span years and can be expensive depending on the type and location of care. Long-term care insurance helps pay for these expenses.
Employees can continue FLTCIP coverage into retirement with no requirement for a minimum enrollment period. Coverage is fully portable. Coverage for those already enrolled in FLTCIP at retirement will continue as long as the enrollee pays the premium. To learn more click here.
- Office of Personnel Management’s Insurance Landing Page
- BENEFEDS website
- Thrift Savings Plan Website.
- Federal Flexible Spending Account Website .
- Quick Guide to FEHB, FEDVIP, FLTCIP, FSAFEDS, and FEGLI