Q: I am 68 and a retiree from the federal government. I had been working part time for a defense contractor until the contract ended. I’m now unemployed. I have Medicare Parts A and B, and BCBS as a secondary. I noticed my BCBS for standard option increased $59.66 a month for 2011. I am now paying $234.74 a month for standard and $97.50 a month for Medicare Part B, for a total of $332.24 a month. Do you know of a less expensive way to get the same coverage?
A: You’ll need to do some comparison shopping during the next open season. The premiums for Federal Employee Health Benefits plans and their options vary widely and one of the lower-cost ones might be a good fit with your coverage under Medicare Parts A and B. Just be sure that the plan or option you chose fills any gaps in what Medicare covers.