It’s important to realize federal retirees are fully eligible for Medicare Parts B and C. Federal retirees planning for their retirement should carefully examine how the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (FEHB) can work in tandem with Medicare Parts B and C.
Medicare Part B is an entirely optional plan offered by the government which charges federal retirees a monthly premium for extra coverage. Services covered by Medicare Part B are general outpatient care, doctor visits, skilled nursing home stays and laboratory tests. Medicare Part C, which is usually called “Medicare Advantage”, is an insurance program which is offered through private companies. Part C may be more or less expensive than a traditional Medicare plan and includes everything that is offered in Part A and Part B.
While enrolling in Medicare Part B is optional, a federal retiree may consider it a wise choice. An FEHB plan will sometimes waive deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments for federal retirees with Medicare Part B. Medicare Part B covers services that an FEHB may not, such as home health care, medical supplies, durable medical equipment and orthopedic/prosthetic devices. Federal retirees must be currently enrolled in Medicare Part B before getting Medicare Part C. A federal retiree with Medicare Part C will benefit from reduced premiums, but may have to visit doctors or providers in a specific network and have higher out-of-pocket expenses.
There is are many options for federal retirees who are considering expanding their coverage through a Medicare program. A federal retiree should weigh the benefits and costs of enrolling in a Medicare program before making a decision.