Browsing: coverage

Medicare

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Q. I am an unmarried 64-year-old CSRS annuitant who will turn 65 on July 15. I’ve had Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage for many years. What should I do about Medicare and when? A. You can apply online at www.ssa.gov/medicareonly. Do it a few months in advance to avoid delays in being covered.

Retirement eligibility

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Q. I retired from the Army after 18 months of military service at age 22 because of combat wounds. I retired from a nonprofit and went to work for the government at age 56. I am now 62 and have eight years of federal service (executive agency), including depositing the 18-month military buyback. At what age and number of federal service years am I eligible to retire and receive medical benefits as a retiree? A. You could retire now if you wanted to. Any federal employee with five years of service can do that. As for medical benefits, there aren’t…

65 or 66?

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Q. I have been retired under Social Security disability since 2000. I declined Part B because of federal insurance. My Postal Service disability turned over to regular pension at age 62.  I am now 64. According to new law, I am eligible for regular Social Security at age 66. Will my federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield continue until age 66, or does it end at age 65? And do benefits change at all? Do I then have to apply for Part B at 65, or do I wait to apply at 66? And do I have to pay a penalty for…

Suspending FEHB

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Q. I am about ready to retire and currently maintain a FEHB policy. My wife is still working and I can fall under her health plan at no extra cost, and the coverage is better. I have been told that you can “suspend” FEHB in retirement and reinstate it if need be. Is this true? A. No, it isn’t true. About the only ones who can suspend coverage are those who are covered by the military’s Tricare program. And they can only re-enroll if they lose that coverage or during an open season.

Annuity reduction and health insurance

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Q. I am a CSRS employee and plan to retire March 29. 1. Will I be on the annuity roll for my first check on April 1 or May 1? 2. Will I incur a reduction in my annuity because of the retirement date? 3. I will turn 65 in April, so I will be eligible for Medicare. I have had Federal Employees Health Benefits for four years, and I am Tricare-eligible. I am aware that my time with Tricare will count toward my five years and that I can suspend my FEHB and go with Medicare/Tricare for Life. What…

Five-year rule

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Q. I will be 66 years old in April. I have been with the Postal Service (FERS) for 16 years. I am eligible for retirement, but I am concerned about health insurance. I was always covered under my spouse’s insurance, since she started in the workforce before I did. I took on my own health insurance in January 2011 since she retired on disability due to medical complications. When I took on health insurance, I also covered for her health insurance. I know it has not been five years yet. What do I need to do to be eligible to…

Temporary loss of health coverage

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Q. I am a retired foreign service officer whose spouse is still an active federal employee working for an agency other than the State Department. To save money, we decided to move from one self-and-family policy under my name to separate self-only plans. I opted for a completely different carrier, while my wife chose to stay with the one we had had for six years. We had not counted, however, on the fact that this year, there would be a nearly two-week gap between the time frame for changes for retirees and for active employees. The end result has been that…

Switching from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to Medicare Part B

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Q. 1. Can someone switch from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to Medicare Part B at age 71? 2. Should it be done? 3. If yes, how can it be done, and what are the costs? I am 71 and self-employed (since 2011), covered under my wife’s federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan. My wife has been retired for a few years and she also turned 71 in 2012. My wife was just operated for a brain tumor and is being scheduled for radiation therapy and chemotherapy. A. While your wife could disenroll from the Federal Employees Health Benefits program and both of…

Employment after retiring

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Q. I will turn 62 in March and was planning on retiring with 22 years of service under CSRS. A job opportunity may come available before then, and I’m trying to figure out my options. If I retired now, would there be a significant difference in my annuity because I haven’t turned 62? Should I consider a deferred retirement? If so, until when? Should I keep my federal health benefits even though the new job will have better coverage? I probably will only work there for about five years — the minimum time to become vested in the 401(k) plan…

5-year rule vs. service computation date

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Q. I am a 63-year-old Air Force civilian employee and have been employed since Sept. 2, 2008. With no break in service, I was employed by the Internal Revenue Service as a seasonal employee for approximately eight months since Feb. 20, 2008. Being a seasonal employee, I was not able to have Federal Employees Health Benefits. But I took out the coverage once I transferred over to full time with the Air Force. If I retire in February, would I be able to take my health benefits with me, or would I have to wait until September? A. The rule…

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