In a significant update for 2024, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has enhanced the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program by integrating more Medicare Part D options. This initiative, driven by OPM’s encouragement earlier in 2023, aims to provide federal employees with more comprehensive and cost-effective prescription drug coverage.
These Medicare Part D plans, offered through FEHB, promise to provide equal or superior benefits compared to the original FEHB prescription coverage, without any additional costs to the members.
New Medicare Part D Plans in FEHB
Starting in 2024, seventeen FEHB plans will incorporate Medicare Part D plans, ensuring a wider array of choices for beneficiaries. These include:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield (Standard, Basic, FEP Blue Focus)
- National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) High
- Mail Handlers Benefit Plan (MHBP) – Standard, Value, Consumer Option
- American Postal Workers Union (APWU) High
- Rural Carrier Benefit Plan
- Foreign Service Benefit Plan
- SAMBA (High, Standard)
- Aetna Direct (Consumer Option)
- Aetna Open Access (High, Basic – MD, VA, DC)
If you are currently enrolled in Medicare Part A or Parts A & B and are a member of an FEHB plan that offers Medicare Part D, you’ll be automatically enrolled in the Medicare Part D plan. The exception to this automatic enrollment is with BCBS plans, where automatic enrollment occurs only if you have both Medicare Part A and Part B.
Once enrolled, you have a 30-day window to opt out of the Medicare Prescription Drug plan. Should you choose to stay with the plan, a separate prescription drug insurance card will be issued to you.
Factors to Consider
Before making a decision, consider:
- Medication Costs: Assess how your current prescriptions are covered under both your existing and new plans.
- Manufacturer Coupons: If you are using manufacturer coupons, be aware that these coupons are often not compatible with Medicare Part D plans.
- Income Considerations: If your income exceeds $103,000 (individual) or $206,000 (married, filing jointly), you might face a premium increase for Medicare Part D.
- Medicare Advantage Plans: Do you have a Medicare Advantage plan or desire to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan? If you want to keep your FEHB plan into retirement and partner it with a Medicare Advantage Plan to receive additional benefits at no additional cost, you will want to maintain your current prescription drug coverage.
Navigating these options can be complex. If you have questions or need assistance in making the best choice for your healthcare needs, don’t hesitate to contact United Benefits. Our team is ready to help you understand your options and make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage.