Q. I’ve seen some guidance that Part D is not necessary with our FEHB coverage.  One of my prescriptions has a co-pay of $70.  Seems it wouldn’t take to many of those to make the double coverage pay for itself. What do you think? Are there any comparison tables for the various options and combinations? We currently have family Blue Cross standard.  One thought was whether it would pay to downgrade to BC basic while buying Part B and/or Part D, which would lower our monthly Blue Cross premium by $165. With the coordination of benefits that may be a good tradeoff.

A. According to OPM, “the prescription drug coverage offered by plans participating in the FEHBP is, on average, comparable to Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, thus you do not need to enroll in Medicare Part D and pay extra for prescription drug benefits. If you decide to enroll in Medicare Part D later, you will not have to pay a penalty for late enrollment as long as you keep your FEHB coverage. However, if you choose to enroll in Medicare Part D, you can keep your FEHB coverage and your FEHB plan will coordinate benefits with Medicare.” The decision about whether to enroll in Medicare Part D is up to you and should be based on a dollar-and-cents assessment of what you would gain in benefits compared to the additional premium cost.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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