Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) and Medicare work together to form a crucial piece of your retirement benefits puzzle. Both are designed to help cover your healthcare costs and needs. In the past, federal employees have often been misguided on the complexities of how FEHB and Medicare work together. You will want to use both systems to create an efficient health care plan for your specific healthcare needs. Therefore, it is vitally important to speak with a representative that understands FEHB and Medicare to help guide you to the best option.
What are my options to coordinate my FEHB and Medicare when I retire?
There are three primary options when it comes to coordinating your FEHB benefits and Medicare when you retire. All options provide you with great health coverage into retirement. United Benefits have Medicare specialists who can help you navigate your choices. Below explains each option and how they benefit you when you retire.
Option 1: Keep your FEHB benefits
If you have been covered by Federal Employee Health Benefits for the last five years of your employment you will have the ability to keep your benefits throughout your retirement. If you are over 65, you will want to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. Once Medicare is active, Medicare will be the primary payor for your medical care. Your FEHB benefits will be secondary. Many FEHB plans will cover the costs that Medicare does not pay in full, leaving you with little to no medical expenses. In addition, some FEHB plans may reduce the cost of your Part B premiums. When you are nearing retirement, it is important to speak with a retirement and Medicare advisor to assist you in determining which FEHB plan may be best for you into retirement.
Option 2: Suspend your FEHB benefits
As a federal retiree, you can suspend your FEHB benefits in the event you have other credible coverage. Some common types of other credible coverage may be Medicaid, Tricare, or specific Medicare plans. Medicare Part A and Part B is not enough to qualify to suspend your FEHB benefits. However, if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have the right to suspend your FEHB benefits. Suspending your FEHB benefits allows you to re-enroll in your FEHB benefits during open season and may reduce your monthly premiums. Depending on your location, some benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan can be a $0 monthly premium, dental, vision, and hearing coverage, over-the-counter benefits, and gym memberships.
Option 3: Keep your FEHB benefits and enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan
If you want to keep your FEHB benefits but also are interested in the extra benefits provided by Medicare Advantage, you have the option to have both! You can keep your FEHB and enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan that does not include drug coverage. It is very important that if you are interested in this option that you work with a Medicare specialist who fully understands FEHB and Medicare. Most of the time, in addition to the extra benefits provided in Option 2, a Medicare Advantage Plan that does not include drug coverage will also provide a Part B Reimbursement, amount based on your location. This option allows you to keep the comfort of your FEHB plan while also adding the benefits provided by Medicare Advantage.