Medicare Part B


Q. Someone at Blue Cross/Blue Shield told me that in order to keep BC/BS insurance I had to have Medicare Part A & Part B. I am a retired federal worker under CSRS.

A. They were mistaken. BC/BS cannot cancel your enrollment in the FEHB program. You should enroll in Medicare Part A because you have already paid for it through payroll deductions and it will reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. Part B is optional and you would have to pay for it. Most federal retirees decline that coverage.


About Author

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


  1. Correct – I am a retired FERS guy with BCBS, AND a retired USCG officer with Tricare SELECT (No premium). Now that I am turning 65, I MUST acquire Part A (Free) AND Part B (about 200 per month for me). There is no choice based on several days of research, and MULTIPLE calls to all concerned. From what I can see, my best would be to SUSPEND BCBS and go with Tricare for Life (what they call it after you are 65, and Medicare A & B. Only real issue is that my spouse would be on Tricare SELECT only until she is 65 (about 1.5 years) unless I carried both BCBS AND Med B (for myself).
    In the final end, with both of us on MED B, my monthly premium would be less at about $400 vrs BCBS at about $560. Still, would have been nice to just leave it alone. Had BCBS for MANY years without issue, but Tricare simply has no alternative to requirement to acquire MED B.

    • Thanks for sharing this with us. There are many who are in your situation and have made the choice you have until the spouse reaches the right age to suspend FEHB coverage.

  2. LostIntheMaze on

    My first experience with medicare is not going so well. I retired under he CSRS plan. BC/BS is denying described as physical medicine because I and not enrolled in medicare part B. I am enrolled in FEHB plan (self plus 1) that they would pay services not covered in medicare part a. My FEHB plan (BC/BS) but they are not..

    any suggestions

    • Neither BC/BS nor any other plan in the FEHB program will cover benefits that aren’t listed in its contract. So, it’s entirely possible that a benefit covered by Medicare Part B might not be one covered by BC/BS.

  3. I am a CSRS retiree. I have BC/BS 106 but I also have Medicare part A and B. I have the feeling I am paying for duplicate coverage in some way. But, my wife has had some serious illnesses the last few years so am hesitant to make any changes. Right now we pay virtually nothing out of pocket…..which is nice. But I am also paying $904/mo in premiums. Any advice?

    • Medicare Part A isn’t costing you anything because you paid for that benefit through payroll deductions while you were working. Part B is another matter. You have to pay for that benefit if you want it. While some expert’s point out that Part B might not be needed by most individuals who are covered by an FEHB plan and Medicare Part A, the only way to find out if you need that benefit is review your current and anticipated needs and see if Part B would cover in whole or part things that aren’t covered by your FEHB plan and Part A.

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