If you worked for the federal government, you may be entitled to federal employee health benefits (“FEHB”) even after you retire. People who qualify for FEHB receive the same benefits at the same price as people who are actively working. The question becomes should you enroll in Medicare?
Whether to enroll in Medicare depends upon the kind of health care coverage you want and the amount you are willing to spend for coverage. Here are three questions to ask:
- Do you want access to care from most doctors and hospitals in the United States at little or no cost? If you’re enrolled in a fee-for-service FEHB plan and sign up for traditional Medicare, Medicare will pay first and the FEHB plan will wrap around Medicare, paying most out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and coinsurance.
- Can you afford to pay the premiums for both Medicare and your FEHB plan?
- If you decide not to enroll in Medicare now but think you may want to enroll in Medicare at a later date, are you prepared to pay a premium penalty for late enrollment?
- If you’re in a FEHB HMO, is it meeting your current health care needs? If so, you might choose not to enroll in Medicare and save money on the Medicare premiums.
- Will the HMO meet your future health care needs, if you develop a costly and complex condition? If you enroll in Medicare Part B, you will have coverage for all out-of-network care.
- Are you prepared to pay a premium penalty for late enrollment in Medicare if you decide to enroll later?
For more information on FEHB and Medicare, read this booklet from the federal government or contact the National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) at 800-627-3394.