FEHB 5 year requirement with break in service


I worked for the FAA in early 80s for 2 years I resigned and came back to work for the FAA in 2017. In Reg Jones article 1-7-2020 in Fed week it stated with a separation of service I do not need to start the 5 year clock over in order to keep FEHB into retirement, OPM said I can’t have a break in service. Who can I contact to get a definitive answer to this question and to have it in writing.

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Asked on June 23, 2020 4:16 pm

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Scott, when it comes to FEHB, what is meant as a break in service is you have FEHB, you cancel it while working in federal service and then sign up for FEHB again. When an individual works for the federal government and is covered by FEHB, resigns and returns to federal service, the non-federal service time is removed and all federal service time is added together for meeting the five-year rule.
The following was taken directly from the OPM website: https://www.opm.gov/faqs/topic/insure/index.aspx?cid=880bfba8-8f8b-4e64-9a72-fae98408fd0e
I know you have to be enrolled in the FEHB Program for 5 years before retirement to continue coverage in retirement. Does previous enrollment count towards 5 years or does it have to be five continuous years? This employee was enrolled for about two years in the past and wonders if this counts towards the 5 years.
It depends. FEHB law requires a retiring employee to be covered under FEHB for the 5 years of service immediately before retirement or, if less than 5 years, for all service since the employee’s first opportunity to enroll in FEHB. In the above situation, the employee’s 2 years of previous FEHB coverage would count toward his 5-year FEHB coverage requirement if he had a break in service and therefore could not have had FEHB as an employee.
For example: The employee was enrolled in FEHB from 2003-2005 and then separated from Federal employment. He returned to Federal service in 2010 and was enrolled in FEHB from 2010-2013. The 2 years he was enrolled in FEHB from 2003-2005 along with the 3 years he was enrolled in FEHB from 2010-2013 enable him to meet the 5-year coverage requirement.
However, if the employee had been continuously employed and eligible for FEHB, but had a break in his FEHB coverage from 2003-2009 because he cancelled his FEHB, he would have to begin the 5-year period over again.

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Answered on June 23, 2020 4:33 pm