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FEHB and medicare B
Old 12-02-2013, 09:40 AM   #1
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FEHB and medicare B

I am approaching 65 and decision time.

Any advice concerning FEHB and medicare B (including a dependent)?

Thank you.
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:53 AM   #2
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Here are a couple of helpful posts from another thread a few months ago

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Yes, you can, and likely should, keep your FEHB. At 65 you will go on Medicare Part A (technically, you don't have to but that is a complicated conversation). Your FEHB then supplements Medicare and will continue to pay doctors visits as it does today. Many Feds also take Medicare Part B. I started Medicare a month ago and DID NOT take Part B. that too is a complicated issue.
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Heck, since there is at least minimal interest I will expand on what I mentioned here. Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss further. Almost all feds retain their health insurance in retirement because it is a solid reliable program. But you continue to pay the full freight after Medicare kicks in even though the Fed program no longer handles the primary hospitalization costs at that point. The primary choice you have to make is whether to pay ~$100/month more for Part B. if you do, the Fed insurers promise you won't pay any out of pocket for anything (assuming you stay in network and with Mediacre accepting doctors). The calculation to make is whether it is worth $1200/ year each to avoid deductibles and copays. Many who do the analysis conclude that it isn't. My decision not to take Part B was based on current costs and my conclusion that the max out of pocket we could face in the future is not very daunting in any event. If I conclude that I would have saved a few bucks with Part B, NBD. The downside is that Part B goes up 10%/ year for every year you delay signing up.

The other issue - whether to sign up for Medicare at all is more confusing. Technically, your FEHB policy remains in full effect so Medicare seems superfluous. But, the policies all state that they will only pay Medicare rates for Medicare eligible policy holders. So doctors visits are paid at the Medicare Part B rate rather than the plan rate in any event. If the plan continued to cover hospitalization, that would only pay Medicare A rates as well. The Government and all the plans push Feds to sign up for Medicare A and I have read of confusion and slow payment issues plaguing some who chose not to so I wasn't interested in testing those waters. I have read some questions about whether it would be better to skip Medicare A if retiring overseas but I haven't read enough to know whether that makes sense.

I don't know why the law was never amended to require eligible Feds to sign up for Part A. I guess when they started deducting Medicare coverage from our salaries and made us part of the program they forgot to add a requirement. It hasn't turned out to be much of an issue since most assume it is a requirement and sign up (like I did) even if they find out that it isn't.
Thread here Medicare and Obamacare ?
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:39 AM   #3
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Khan, I have FEHB and I also signed up for Medicare, Part B. I admit that I had no idea of what to do, but my perception was that most retired feds did that so I did too.

I have been on Medicare A&B since last June, and it has been wonderful. I have not paid one single cent other than my premiums and prescriptions. No co-pay for my regular doctor appointment, and no lab costs. Even when I fainted and hit my head, I did not have to pay a penny for the cat scan, doctor visit, or anything.

I don't know which to recommend but I really like having Part B. All the doctors' offices, labs, and so on, take care of the paperwork for claims and I have had to do nothing (except pay my monthly FEHB and $104.90/month for Part B). The lack of aggravation over the (former) leakage of a few dollars here and a few dollars there has been very nice. No more checks to send off in the mail.

I can afford it easily, so it is no hardship for me. So far, it has paid off (due to my fall), but I don't expect it to always pay off dollar-wise. I am forgetful and love not having to worry about a ding on my credit if a $3 check doesn't arrive at the lab, and that sort of thing.

Whether or not you decide to take it is something only you can decide.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:28 PM   #4
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Thank you. I have ~1.5 years to consider. Have been leaning towards part B.
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:33 PM   #5
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I was about to chime in but MichaelB beat me to it. I didn't remember that I got that detailed in a previous post - maybe a sign that dementia benefits will be helpful soon?

As I noted, most Feds go with Part B. I calculated otherwise but it is probably safest to go with the well beaten path if you are at all worried about the outcome.
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