Browsing: Medicare

Q: I am a retired federal employee, almost 65 years old, and I have to decide whether to sign up for Medicare Part B. Whether I sign up or not, I will continue with the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (currently Government Employees Health Association, which has a maximum annual $5,000 out-of-pocket expense). The Part B decision seems to be one of costs versus benefits. I would pay about $1,400 per year for Part B and would save/eliminate most of my out-of-pocket expenses. I rarely spend more than about $1,000 a year in out-of-pocket expenses.   It’s almost impossible to…

Q: Will federal retirees who pay Medicare through their federal pension because they have insufficient Social Security quarters ever receive a refund and correction for an improper raise in Medicare premiums in 2010?  We, too, received no cost-of-living allowances. A: There wasn’t any “improper raise.” What you are referring to is the fact that when there wasn’t any cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits in 2010, an increase in Medicare premiums for Social Security beneficiaries was prohibited under the “hold harmless” provision of that law. On the other hand, there wasn’t any legal restriction to the required increase in premiums…

Q: I am a retired postal annuitant on Medicare. I heard that letters were sent out in the spring inviting insurers to offer a health care supplement for people such as me, so that I don’t have to pay for a full-blown plan when I also have Medicare Parts A and B. I cannot find any insurers offering such a plan for 2011. Are there any plans being offered? Who offers them? Are there any fee-for-service insurers?  A: I don’t know if OPM had any takers. We won’t know that until it makes its Federal Employees Health Benefits open season…

Q: My wife and I are federal retirees and annuitants. We continue to enroll in the CareFirst Blue Cross/Blue Shield standard option. We do not have Medicare Part B. The Blue Cross 2010 Plan Booklet and several explanation of benefits from Blue Cross explain that by law, physicians who do not accept Medicare can only charge us up to 115 percent of what Medicare allows. The law applies to federal retirees and annuitants without Medicare Part B. Please confirm that what I summarized above is correct. A: What you read on Page 23 of your plan brochure is correct.

Q: My father retired from the Internal Revenue Service 20 years ago. He has Medicare Part A but did not take Medicare Part B and has continued his Federal Employees Health Benefits insurance plan. Until now, all bills had been covered by his Aetna FEHB insurance. Now he needs surgery, and he was informed that this insurance is secondary and Medicare Part B, which he does not have, is primary. Is that accurate? Why is he paying $16,000 a year for in private insurance if it is only secondary? Also, I got the impression that if you don’t take Medicare…

Q. I am 59 years old, and will be eligible for Medicare as of May 1 because of a disability. At present I am covered under my husband’s insurance through FEHBP (my husband is now deceased). Do I need to enroll in Medicare Part B, and if I do, then does my health insurance change? Will I become Medicare Primary and what FEHBP offers as a supplement or can I continue to keep my existing plan? A. It’s up to you to decide whether to enroll in Medicare Part B and pay the required premiums. If you do, Medicare Part…

Q. Why does Medicare become one’s primary insurer when they reach 65? I am a retired federal employee with FEHB, which becomes secondary at that age. Is Medicare better? A. Medicare becomes primary because the law requires it. The law applies to anyone who is retired and enrolled in Medicare. It does not apply to those age 65 or older who are still employed. In their case, any private or public health insurance they have remains primary and Medicare secondary. Note: While you have already paid for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) through payroll deduction, whether or not you enroll…

Q. I am a federal CSRS retiree and my 2010 monthly Medicare deduction increased from $96.40 to $110.50. My husband is a Social Security retiree only and his Medicare deduction remained the same for 2010 as was withheld in 2009, which was $96.40. In trying to find an answer to this disparity, one Web site tells me: “If you make less than $85,000.00 per year, it will be $96.40 per month. If you make more per year, see the link below for those amounts:” Since my gross monthly annuity is $3514.00 (annual total annuity of $42,168.00), is far less from…

Q: Do I have to enroll in Medicare when I turn 65? What happens to my Federal Employees Health Benefit if I don’t enroll in Medicare? It seems to me that the insurance company is getting a lot less responsibility for the same premium I pay once Medicare kicks in. It seems to me the FEHB premium should decrease because the benefits decrease, and Medicare ought to get paid the difference? A: You’d be foolish not to enroll in Medicare Part A because you’ve already paid for that coverage through payroll deductions. However, if you don’t want that coverage, you’d…

Q: I just read your comment explaining why some individuals had their Medicare Part B Premium go up. This article begs an additional question. I would like to delay drawing my Social Security until age 70. However, I would like to sign up for Medicare Part B when I turn 65 in order to avoid the penalty for delayed sign-up. I understand the way to do this is to have the Medicare Part B premium benefit taken out of my FERS (with CSRS component) pension, which I will begin to draw at age 58. However, if I do this, I…

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