Part B decision depends on costs, benefits


Q. I am 62, and will be retiring from the Postal Service within three months, rather unexpectedly. We will be continuing with my current Blue Cross Blue Shield plan for annuitants. My wife is 65, and declined Medicare Part B since I was still working. Will it be necessary for her to sign up for Part B, or will the continued Federal Employees Health Benefit plan suffice?

A. She doesn’t have to sign up for Medicare Part B. However, before she makes up her mind, the two of you need to weigh the potential costs and benefits of that decision. If you conclude that what is covered by your Blue Cross Blue Shield plan will be sufficient over time, she can decide not to elect Part B. On the other hand, if Part B offers complementary benefits and/or different ones that fill important gaps and reduce your out-of-pocket cost, even when considering the monthly premiums, then she can elect Part B.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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