Benefits to Medicare Parts A & B


Q. My wife works for the VA. I am covered under her BC/BS federal health insurance. I turn 65 in 30 days. Do I need to sign up for Medicare Parts A & B? If I need to sign up and if I use BC/BS plus medicare, are there any advantages?

A. If you are eligible for Medicare Part A, there’s no reason not to enroll in it. If you are working, you’re paying for that benefit through payroll deduction; if you are retired, it isn’t going to cost you anything. Further, the combination of an FEHB plan and Part A reduces out-of-pocket expenses for hospital insurance-covered expenses to a minimum. On the other hand, you’d have to pay the premiums for Part B, which aren’t cheap. If you do enroll in Part B, the combination would reduce your medical insurance-covered services to a minimum. You’ll need to review what you FEHB plan provides and compare it with what you’d gain from Part B before you make a decision.


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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

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