Medicare Part B vs. FEHB


Q. If I choose not to take Medicare B, and remain with just my Federal Employees Health Benefits plan, what does the FEHB plan pay? Does it pay as it did when I was working (with annual deductibles, co-pays, etc.) or does the FEHB plan reduce all payments to only the amounts that Medicare pays? I cannot afford to continue paying both Medicare B and FEHB premiums, but have to recognize that fewer doctors will accept Medicare patients. If I get out of Medicare B and use just my FEHB plan, will that FEHB plan automatically reduce payments to Medicare B levels?

A. If you are enrolled In Medicare Part B, you have the advantage of coordination of benefits between Medicare and your FEHB plan, reducing your out-of-pocket costs, and your FEHB plan may waive its co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles for Part B services. Further, some services covered under Part B might not be covered or only partially covered by your plan, such as orthopedic and prosthetic devices, durable medical equipment, home health care and medical supplies.

For a better idea of what your Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan will cover if you aren’t enrolled in Part B, go to, beginning on Page 134.


About Author

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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