Medicare and FEHB


Q. I am retiring from the VA when I am 62. I hold the insurance for myself and my husband, and I am able to keep family health benefits when I retire.

My husband is two years and nine months younger than I am.

When I reach 65, can I still keep GEHA insurance until my husband reaches 65 and can start drawing Medicare on his own? I do not want him not having heath insurance when he is 62. I heard someone say that at 65 I could do Medicare Part A and keep my government health insurance, and then, when he has reached 65, I could drop the GEHA in an open season and go with Part B with a supplement.

A. Yes, you need to keep enrolled in the self and family option of your FEHB plan to ensure that your husband’s health needs are covered. As for dropping your FEHB plan when you are both covered by Medicare, you had better think twice about that. If you drop it, you will never be able to re-enroll if you later change your mind. While Medicare Part A is free (you already paid for it through payroll deductions), you’ll have to pay for Part B. Whether you need to enroll in Part B is something you have to think through. Compare what your FEHB plan will cover with what Medicare Part B covers. Then review your current and anticipated health needs.

While many retirees elect to be covered by their FEHB plan and Medicare Parts A and B, many others elect not to enroll in Part B. One answer doesn’t fit all.


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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