FEHB in retirement

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Q. I’m retiring and have been enrolled in the FEHB program for over five years. Can I stay on Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s federal coverage along with Part A Medicare for as long as I please? I’m thinking of keeping BCBS instead of Medicare Part B or any other supplemental program. Is that a good idea?

A. Yes, you can continue your FEHB enrollment when your Medicare Part A coverage begins. I can’t tell you whether not enrolling in Medicare Part B is a good idea. However, I can tell you that very few retirees do that. And even fewer enroll in supplemental plans.

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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.

10 Comments

  1. Dianne Gossett on

    ” I can’t tell you whether not enrolling in Medicare Part B is a good idea. However, I can tell you that very few retirees do that. ”
    Very few retires do what? DO Enroll in Part B or do NOT enroll in part B?

    • Yes, under the FEHB program as long as you are enrolled in the Self and Family option. No, under Medicare, which applies only to the covered individual.

  2. Carol Scheufele on

    Is there a catch to: signing up for Medicare B, while retaining BCBS, then discontinuing Medicare B should it not work out later? Won’t BCBS revert back to primary? Are there any unknown penalties (?), as this strategy does not seem to be discussed.

    • As you suspected, if you discontinued your Medicare Part B coverage, your FEHB coverage for those benefits would revert to what it was before you signed up for Part B. However, your Part A enrollent would provide primary coverage for any benefits covered by Part A.

  3. ” I can’t tell you whether not enrolling in Medicare Part B is a good idea. However, I can tell you that very few retirees do that. ”

    Recognizing that each individuals situation is different, can you offer some pro’s and con’s for keeping your FEHB plan and not enrolling in Medicare part B. If most people do that it must offer better coverage or be less expensive, in general.

    • Based on anecdotal evidence, most eligible FEHB-covered participants don’t enroll in Medicare Part B. In my experience, those that do so fall into three categories: those who are operating on auto-pilot, those who are anxious about health issues that might occur in the future, and those who already have health conditions that make Part B a good investment.

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