Q: I never got a good answer on this from Fed retirement/Medicare seminars before I retired in 2011. I am about to hit 3+ year deadline for Medicare signup.
My Mom had a survivor annuity by the time she really needed it for Alheimer’s and related expenses in her 90’s. She did fine with Blue Cross/Blue Shield … there were only two problems that ever turned up: a couple of medical providers ignored instructions that she was not on Medicare so their payments were delayed; and one of the assisted living places she wound up in normally used a Medicare-only visiting physical therapy company … they had to find someone else for her, with higher costs.
So, my inclination is to ask, what is the point of my converting to Medicare from my current BC/BS Standard Option (individual)?
A: There is absolutely no point to convert your FEHB to Medicare Part B. What retiring feds consider is whether or not to choose Medicare B to go along with their FEHB. Some retirees find keeping their federal insurance and not electing Medicare B to suit them just fine; others pick up B.
What do Medicare eligible retirees look at?
- If they elect Medicare B, they are paying more in premiums;
- If they elect Medicare B, most FEHB PPOs and fee for service plans cover all Medicare deductibles and co-pays, while waiving their own;
- If they do not elect Medicare B when first eligible, there will be a 10% per year penalty if they choose to elect it at a later date.
- They also look at their expected need for medical care in the future.
To help you make your decision, I suggest you read the coordination of benefits section of your FEHB plan brochure, read the publication Medicare and You (available at http://www.medicare.gov).