Medigap or FEHB plan to supplement Medicare Part B?


Q. If a federal employee is enrolled in governmentwide Blue Cross, is over 65 and will enroll in Medicare Part B when she retires, is there an advantage to leaving Federal Employees Health Benefits on retirement and purchasing a medigap plan to supplement the coverage of Medicare Part B or even leaving FEHB before retirement and enrolling in Part B and a medigap plan?

Is there much of chance that FEHB plans such as Blue Cross will experience a great increase in premiums in coming years due to Obamacare?

A. I can think of no reason for dropping coverage in the FEHB. Nor can I think of any cost-effective substitute for it. While no one can predict how FEHB premiums will increase, the Office of Personnel Management has done an outstanding job of reining them in since the program began. Nearly every year, the overall increases in FEHB premiums have been less than those experienced by the health insurance sector as a whole.


About Author

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


  1. The answer confirms that keeping FEHB is a good choice due to the cost, but it doesn’t answer if FEHB is a substitute for Medicare Part B. I understand that FEHB would act like a Medigap plan when retirees have Medicare A and B, but what happens if a retiree does not take Part B?

    • You’ll find the answer to your question in your plan brochure under the heading “The Original Medicare
      Plan (Part A or Part B).”

      • Ellen Bynum on

        We recently took a Federal Retirement Seminar where the option to take Part B or not was discussed. In WA State there is still no provider who reimburses the insured for payment into Part B when they also pay for FEHB. There is a Group Health FEHB plan that has a reduced rate for coverage, but the total costs with Part B are still fairly high. Aetna offers a similar plan, but the consumer reports are mixed about the plan.

        Federal employees can suspend FEHB coverage to take a Medicare Advantage or other coverage. However, almost all discussion agreed that FEHB coverage was often superior to any Medicare Advantage program because of its federal subsidy that continues in retirement.

        California PERS retirees receive a reimbursement for their payments into Part B on that insurance plan. It seems like something that retired federal employees should be requesting.

Leave A Reply