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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 134
Registered: ‎05-09-2010

Re: Federal retiree and Medicare Part B

Medicare Plan B is the same for everyone and it is not the same as a Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicare, in relation to any Secondary insurance you might have (such as United Healthcare MDIPA) is always Primary and will reimburse you before any other insurance. After that, your Secondary insurance will pick up whatever MC did not pay -- in accordance with what coverage they offer. My MC premium is deducted from my small monthly Social Security payment -- which is based on earning 40 quarters from a "moonlight job" while I worked full-time for the federal government. I took this job primarily to earn Social Security with the expectation that it would supplement my federal retirement income. Subsequently, the Windfalll Eliminatin Provisioin RETROACTIVELY (!) diminished the amount of Social Secutiy income that I would receive since I was also a federal employee and enrolled in the CSRS.  Had I known that would occur,  I probably would not have taken the "moonlight job." The Windfall Elimination Provision seems very unfair. The fact that I earned money from two different sources and retired under the CSRS should not, in my opinion, have diminished the amount I receive under Social Security as a result of earning money outside of the Civil Service system. I earned that money from my second job fair and square and paid the required taxes on it. The fact that this Provision became retroactive, once it was enacted, remains beyond my comprehension of how things SHOULD work. Having said that, I am still grateful for my CSRS benefits.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎03-31-2020

Re: Federal retiree and Medicare Part B

I'm retired DoD civilian.  I kept my BC/BS Basic health coverage and picked up Medicare Part B when I turned 65.  BC/BS Basic actually reimburses $800 of the premiums you pay them if you pick up Part B medicare.  In addition, with Part B being primary and BC/BS Basic being secondary, you don't have co-pays for Dr visits or anything and you have that reliable BC/BS prescription coverage.

 

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,357
Registered: ‎03-02-2014

Re: Federal retiree and Medicare Part B

@Q-Checker  - I'm with you on the WEP.  To have it applied retroactively to you is really unfair.  I earned my credits before I started my federal career so not much there in wages.  I wasn't planning on working after retirement (I actually worked 5 years longer than eligible), but the work at home part time job fell in my lap, so I decided to do it to make up the 9 credits I was lacking.  While my CSRS benefit is good, the extra money really helped to replace my HVAC system, do large expensive tree removal, and replace my deck.  

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,232
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Federal retiree and Medicare Part B

I belong to a third retired category: blended CSRS/FERS retirement.  I entered Civil Service (previously had been a NAFI employee which doesn't count towards Federal Civil Service retirement).  Because I was already employeed as a Civil Servant when Windfall Elimination (nasty) and stood to lose 28 SS credits already earned, I opted for blended retirement (not beneficial for most employees).  Therefore I get some of CSRS benefits and accrued SS going forward ( plus enhanced 401k match, of which I took full advantage).  I love my retirement (been retired 14 years).

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,014
Registered: ‎03-15-2010

Re: Federal retiree and Medicare Part B

@patbz 

 

While working at the Office of Personnel Management, I took a brief detail to the office that was tasked with explaining Federal benefits to other agencies and employees that would call/write.

 

In all honesty, I lasted just a few months for the very reason you described in your Federal retirement.

 

Between the Windfall Elimination (very few know about and/or believe it will affect them), and all the variables to retirement, I could never get my mind wrapped around all the details.

 

Every day trying to explain these things was an uphill battle.  You have a great grasp on it...I'm impressed!

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,357
Registered: ‎03-02-2014

Re: Federal retiree and Medicare Part B

@Witchy Woman  - I couldn't imagine trying to explain the convuluted mess that comprises federal retirement benefits!  Luckily my retirement was straightforward as I was under CSRS and single and no military assocations.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,232
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Federal retiree and Medicare Part B

[ Edited ]

@Witchy Woman : Thanx! At the time I had to make my decision I was the Training Specialist tasked with bringing all the civilians at China Lake up to speed on these impending changes.

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Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,875
Registered: ‎08-25-2010

Re: Federal retiree and Medicare Part B


@DecorDiva wrote:

@Eileen in Virginia  - Yes, I am under CSRS (thank goodness!)  Do you sign up for Part B at the same time you enroll in Medicare?  Do you select a plan for Part B, or is it the same for everyone?  Are the plans for Part B the same plans that are called Medicare Advantage Plans?  And how do they bill you if you don't collect Social Security?  After I retired I took a part time job to get my 40 quarters, so I will collect a small benefit albeit reduced by the Windfall Elimination Provision.  Currently I have United Healthcare MDIPA, so I don't know if they subsidize Part B or how they coordinate with Medicare.  I would never drop my federal insurance and from what I've read here, I will probably get Part B.  


@DecorDiva  I'm pretty sure I signed up for Part B at the same time I enrolled in Medicare. It was really easy using Medicare's website. There aren't any "plans" under Part B - it's the same for everyone. On its own, Part B doesn't cover your total costs, so private sector retirees who don't have other insurance can make up the difference by enrolling in supplemental or Advantage plans. Federal retirees can just use their FEHB insurance plans to make up the difference. DH and I pay the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) directly with a check. They send us a quarterly bill. We've had BC/BS FEHB for decades, so I don't know if other plans include the rebate that we receive under Blue Cross Basic. Check your plan's 2020 benefits brochure, as well as its 2021 brochure when it comes out. In our case, Blue Cross knew we'd enrolled in Medicare without our notifying them. I'd guess the fact that we switched to their Basic option and submitted our reimbursement forms clued them in. OPM's website provides good general information on coordinating Medicare with FEHB coverage. Select the Insurance tab, then look for Medicare in the options along the margin. You can probably find more specific information about how MDIPA coordinates with Medicare at MDIPA's website - just be sure you're looking at their FEHB info, not their private sector info. If it turns out that MDIPA isn't your best option once you've enrolled in Medicare, you can check out other FEHB plans during Open Season and switch to one that's better for you. 

We were very leery of being forced into Medicare once we turned 65. We'd heard all kinds of rumors that it was hard to find doctors who accepted Medicare and that our doctors probably wouldn't accept it. Nothing could be farther from the truth, especially when they see we've got Medicare A & B with FEHB. Just remember to let your doctors admin staff know about your coverage change once you've enrolled in Medicare. 

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,357
Registered: ‎03-02-2014

Re: Federal retiree and Medicare Part B

@Eileen in Virginia  - thank you so much for the detailed information.  I tend to research things thoroughly and you've given me a good start.  I was aware through a friend that BCBS did offer a reimbursement - not sure if my plan does.  You would think all the FEHB plans would since they automatically become secondary payers to Medicare.  Which BCBS plan offers the rebate?  Is it basic or standard (not sure of the names of the two plans)?

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,875
Registered: ‎08-25-2010

Re: Federal retiree and Medicare Part B


@DecorDiva wrote:

@Eileen in Virginia  - thank you so much for the detailed information.  I tend to research things thoroughly and you've given me a good start.  I was aware through a friend that BCBS did offer a reimbursement - not sure if my plan does.  You would think all the FEHB plans would since they automatically become secondary payers to Medicare.  Which BCBS plan offers the rebate?  Is it basic or standard (not sure of the names of the two plans)?


@DecorDiva  You're welcome. It's the Basic option that offers the rebate. They don't exactly advertise it, you have to read the plan brochure at Open Season. We never really planned to transfer out of BC/BS, so we didn't pay much attention to the 2019 changes and almost missed our opportunity to switch from Standard to Basic coverage to take advantage of the rebate. A friend mentioned it and we switched on the last day of Open Season. Lesson learned!