Beneficiaries eligible for FEHB and Medicare could enjoy having both types of insurance. The Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB) is for government employees and retirees. The FEHB is through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for those who qualify. Below we’re going to discuss the benefits of having both Medicare and FEHB insurance. You’ll learn how these programs can work together and which options make the most sense for you.
How the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and Medicare Works
Medicare and You Guide for Federal Employees
- Emergency foreign travel
- Some FEHB offer vision care
- Some FEHB offers dental care
Benefits available through the Medicare Program include:
- Orthopedic devices
- Prosthetic devices
- Durable Medical Equipment
- Home health care
- Limited coverage on chiropractic services
FEHB is primary insurance, and Medicare is optional; having both gives you a more comprehensive plan.
What are the Benefits of Having Both Medicare & Federal Employee Health Benefits?
It’s not always best to have both Medicare and FEHB benefits, but, for some having both could lower costs. Most FEHB plans offer a “coordination of benefits” with Medicare. The coordination cut costs by waiving deductibles, copayments, and coinsurances.
The ultimate factor is whether having both is cost-effective compared to potential exposure.
Income plays a role in your Part B premium costs. A couple with an FEHB Self-Plus-One Plan could have a Maximum Out of Pocket of $5,000.
Well, if that couple would pay $5,800 in Part B premiums for the year, then having both could be ineffective. You wouldn’t pay $5,800 to save $5,000.
Although, a couple with a maximum exposure of $10,000 on an FEHB Self-Plus-One Plan could benefit from both if the Part B premium were only $2,400 a year. Many would at least consider paying $2,400 a year to protect themselves from a $10,000 risk.
It would take over four years in Part B premiums to spend $10,000, and you protect yourself from a catastrophic medical event
After consideration, you may find that FEHB and Medicare insurance is beneficial together. By having both, you protect yourself from penalties should you chose Medicare later.
We understand every situation is not the same, and you need to make the best choice for you. But, nobody complains about having insurance that protects them.
Should Retired Federal Employees Take Medicare Part B?
Enrolling in Part B has some advantages. FEHB remains primary, and Part B is secondary. The Federal Health Benefits Program provides high-quality coverage. Several FEHB plans waive copayments and deductibles when you have Part B benefits.
It’s not mandatory to take Part B when you have FEHB benefits, but you have the option. But, if you don’t take Part B when first eligible, and then you decide to enroll, you do face penalties.
How the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and Medicare Advantage Works
Medicare Advantage plans and FEHB are very alike. There isn’t much need to have both. The best part? You may be able to suspend FEHB benefits while on an Advantage plan.
So, you don’t have to make two premiums. But, you do need Part A and B to qualify for Part C.
Further, if you choose to return to the FEHB plan, you have an annual opportunity to make that change during Open Season.
Also, if you move or lose Part C through no fault of your own, you can change back to a FEHP plan.
How the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and Medicare Part D Works
You can forego Part D since the FEHB is creditable drug coverage. With your FEHB plan, drug benefits may be broad. You’ll want Part D coverage if your prescriptions aren’t on the FEHB formulary. Part D pays primary for medications.
But, you must keep your FEHB plan; FEHB won’t separate health and medication coverage.
Mail Handlers Insurance and Medicare
The Mail Handlers Benefit Plan (MHBP) has been around for federal and postal employees for over 50 years. They have a few plan options, including Self Only, Self Plus One, and Self and Family. As other FEHB plans, it’s not creditable coverage under Part B.
It’s best to have MHBP and Medicare. Then, Medicare will be the primary insurance, and MHBP will give you access to things Medicare doesn’t cover like overseas coverage and chiropractic care.
FEHB and Medicare and TRICARE For Life
Federal employees can’t suspend coverage; but, you can cancel and choose TRICARE instead. And, if you lose TRICARE involuntarily, you can immediately re-enroll in FEHB. Further, if you choose to dis-enroll from TRICARE, you can still re-enroll in FEHB.
How the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and Long-Term Care Works
Those that qualify for the FEHB Program can apply for Federal Long Term Care Insurance. Another option would be a Medicare Advantage plan. Now that Advantage plans can offer Long-Term Care, some policies include coverage. Medicare won’t provide any Long Term Care benefit; but, an advantage policy might.
Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and Working
If you continue to work past the age of 65, the best course of action is to delay Part B until retirement. FEHB will cover you and save you from paying the Part B premium. At retirement, enroll in Part B to have secondary insurance. Those still working are exempt from the Part B late penalty fee.
Retiring with Federal Employee Health Benefits
Upon retirement, you have an eight-month Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to enroll in Part B. At that time; you can choose if Part B and Part C will benefit you. Federal employees may keep FEHB benefits. Enrolling in Part B means secondary insurance that picks up costs you’d otherwise pay.