A question of health coverage, and more

A Reader Writes:

Please expand on your recent response to a reader's question: "If I was to die before I retire and only have health insurance coverage for myself, would my spouse be eligible to pick up health coverage under my annuity?"

Would being in the Federal Employees Retirement System rather than the Civil Service Retirement System make a difference? If the reader had family health coverage, could the spouse continue it? Could the spouse continue it at the single rate if the spouse was the only insured? Does it matter if the federal employee is or is not eligible for an immediate annuity?

Milt Replies:

If at least one of your family members will receive a monthly survivor benefit, and he or she was previously enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), enrollment will automatically continue after death and the cost will be withheld from the monthly survivor payment. If you die and none of your family members receives a monthly survivor benefit, family FEHBP enrollment ends if it was previously in force.

In order to continue coverage for your spouse after your death, you must be enrolled in family health coverage. The surviving spouse can continue it at the single rate if the spouse was the only insured. It does not make a difference whether or not the federal employee is eligible for an immediate annuity or whether the employee was in CSRS or FERS.

A Reader Writes:

When applying in 1987 for coverage under the Post-56 military deposit program, I was informed that the three months I spent in Air Force Officer Training School (paid at an enlisted E5 rank) was not to be included for coverage under the program. Is that true? I've been told otherwise more recently.

Milt Replies:

Why are you worried about three months when you need to put in 30 years before you can retire?

A Reader Writes:

How safe is the Thrift Savings Plan C fund, which appears to be decreasing? Should I move what is left to my G fund?

Milt Replies:

You are asking for investment advice and that is best handled by consulting a fee-only certified financial planner.

Zall is a retired federal employee who since 1987 has written the Bureaucratus column for Federal Computer Week. He can be reached at milt.zall@verizon.net.

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