Editor’s note: This is the second article in a two part series.
In Part I, What is TRICARE for Life, we talked about the very basics of that program.
Where it begins to get a little complicated is when a person who is eligible for TRICARE (and most likely eligible for TRICARE for Life), is also eligible (based upon their employment) for health coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program.
These folks are not only dually eligible, they’re dually blessed. They actually have some choices. Providing they are otherwise eligible to continue their FEHB coverage into retirement, and providing they enroll in Medicare Parts A and B so that they can retain the option to move from TRICARE to TRICARE for Life, they can actually choose between the two.
Retirees and survivor annuitants who are covered by the FEHB and who are also eligible for TFL can suspend their FEHB enrollment when they sign up for Medicare Part B as a result of their enrollment in TFL. By officially suspending their FEHB enrollment through OPM, they can retain their right to re-enroll in FEHB should they become dissatisfied with TFL.
Officially suspending FEHB enrollment to enroll in TFL can save at least one monthly premium. The TFL beneficiary will only be required, in most cases, to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium, thereby saving the monthly FEHB premium.
The key word for retirees is “suspend”. Retirees who cancel their FEHB coverage will likely never be able to re-enroll in the program again. Annuitants can call the OPM retirement information office at 1-888-767-6738 to obtain a copy of the official suspension form.
John Grobe’s latest book, The Answer Book on Your Federal Employee Benefits, has just been released by LRP Publications. Order your copy at shoplrp.com. Ask your human resources office to contact Federal Career Experts about pre-retirement training.