FERS retiree and Medicare part B


Q. I am a FERS retiree since September 2007, at which time I was 50. I elected survivor benefits for my spouse, who is 14½ years older than I am. She was 64 when I retired. I elected to remain in FEHB. Additionally, I did not stop working, as I took a job with a private firm before my retirement date and had medical benefits with that firm, in addition to my FEHB coverage. When my spouse was eligible to receive Medicare Part B the following year, she elected not to take it based on a briefing we received by OPM indicating that FERS retirees and their spouses would not be subject to a late enrollment penalty for Part B if she decided to enroll later as long as we were still covered under FEHB. Will my spouse be required to pay the Medicare Part B penalty?

A. According to the Social Security Administration, you won’t be penalized if “you didn’t take Medicare Part B when you were first eligible because you or your spouse were working and had group health plan coverage through your or your spouse’s employer or union.” Although this sentence is directed at you, it applies equally to your spouse.


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

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