Spousal health coverage after 65


Q. I presently have both Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Family Plan) and Tricare medical coverage. I’m retired military and a full-time Defense Department employee. I’m turning 65 this month and am thoroughly confused about mandatory Part A/Part B enrollment and how this will affect by 62-year-old wife’s coverage. When I went to sign up, I chose Part A only as I thought my BCBS coverage was my assurance that she would continue to have both insurances.

Today, it was brought to my attention that my Tricare coverage will phase out on my birthday, and I will not have a secondary insurance because I didn’t enroll in Part B. What’s true, and what do I need to do to get back on track and, at the same time, assure my wife is fully covered with primary and secondary insurance?

A. To be covered by Tricare, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. For your wife to be covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, you must be enrolled in the self-and-family option of your plan. If your wife is eligible for Medicare when she reaches age 65, it will be secondary if she is employed, primary if she isn’t. It will be up to her to decide if she wants to be covered by Part B and pay the premiums. If she is still employed, she can delay that decision until she stops, without penalty.


About Author

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

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