Q. I am approaching age 65 and have some questions concerning Tricare for Life, Medicare, and FEHB. For background, I am a retired reservist and current FERS GS employee with Blue Cross Blue Shield FEHB and Tricare Standard for my wife and me. I am currently 63 and my wife is a few months older. She is not eligible for Social Security as she is a school teacher and the state of Louisiana opted out.
I plan on working a few years past my 65th birthday but need some guidance on the best course of action when I become Medicare-eligible. We have enjoyed BCBS for many years and are very comfortable with it. It was a bonus when I reached age 60 and picked up Tricare Standard as our secondary health insurance. We want to ensure we use the combinations available to use for the best (medically /economical) coverage.
It appears when I turn 65 I need to sign up for Medicare, purchase Part B (for TFL coverage) and no longer participate in the FEHB program. What about Part C and or Part D?
A. With Tricare for Life and Medicare Parts A & B, you could safely suspend your FEHB coverage, unless there is some specific benefit that would make it worth your continuing that enrollment. Both OPM and the National Association of Current and Retired Employees recommend against enrolling in Medicare Part C, since it provides nothing that wouldn’t already be paid for by your other coverage. They also say that Medicare Part D would only be necessary if you had unusual prescription needs that were not paid for by your other coverage.