Medicare vs. Blue Cross


Q. I am a 71-year-old single female, and I chose Blue Cross/Blue Shield as my primary and Medicare Part A as my secondary when I turned 65. I retired from federal service in January 2005, but since then, my Blue Cross premium has risen to $185 a month.

My research tells me that even though I have to pay a 10 percent penalty per year (seven years) on the monthly premium, it is still less expensive monthly to change to Medicare as my primary and my federal medical insurance as secondary.

What is the difference in coverage as I have it presently with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and what it would be if I made Medicare my primary? I haven’t found any sources that can compare the two.

A. You’ll have to compare the benefits in the two systems. I can’t do that for you. One thing that may influence your decision is this: If you drop your Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage, you won’t be able to re-enroll if, in the future, you’re unhappy with your Medicare coverage.


About Author

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

Leave A Reply