How to Coordinate an FEHB Plan with Other Insurance

You cannot use our cost rankings directly if you have health insurance coverage from another source. The best FEHB plan for you depends on the cost and benefit structure of the other plan, though your best choice will almost always be a low premium plan to minimize unnecessary premium payments. But do not assume that you need not enroll in the FEHB program just because you have other coverage.

If your spouse has a low-cost health plan through a private employer, or you have a health plan from prior employment, check to be sure that it covers you and your children, and has a benefit package as good as the Federal plans. Even if your spouse's plan is every bit as good as any of the Federal plans, consider the cost of this coverage compared to some of the lower-premium Federal plans. Remember that you must be covered under the FEHB program continuously for the five years preceding retirement to continue enrollment after retirement (there are some very rare exceptions, such as certain agency downsizing situations). You don't have to be in the same plan in each year, but you must be covered continuously by some FEHB plan or, in the special case of former military, TRICARE.

Most importantly, if you should die while you are not enrolled in a FEHB family plan, your spouse will lose eligibility for the program. Since most employers do not continue coverage past retirement, or cannot be counted on to do so, your only guarantee that your spouse can keep this entitlement is to be continuously enrolled. There is an excellent strategy for doing so at minimum cost. All of the plans showing a very low or negative number in the "No Costs" column are Consumer-Driven or High Deductible plans that give you a savings account as large as or larger than the premium. With double coverage you will probably not ever reach the high deductible and will realize this saving in most circumstances. In other words, these plans really are almost "free" if they supplement other coverage from your spouse.