Will I Be Forced Into Medicare?

I retired four years ago and want to keep my current health plan. Will I be forced into Medicare or can I just keep my current plan?

Q: I have been retired for four years from the post office. I want to keep my current care first health plan. Am I forced into Medicare? Can I just keep my current plan? I will be 65 in February. Will there ever be penalties if I am forced into Medicare at a later date?

A: FEHB cannot require you to enroll in Medicare at age 65. You are allowed to keep your current FEHB plan. Most federal retirees are going to elect Medicare Part A, as it is free. Regarding Medicare Part B, which has a monthly premium, some age 65 retirees elect it and some do not.

In order for you to make the best possible decision, you should review the section of your FEHB plan’s brochure that deals with coordination of benefits and look at how your FEHB plan will reimburse if you do not elect Part B.

You also inquired about whether you would be penalized if you were forced into Medicare at a later date. No one can give a definite answer about something that hasn’t happened yet, but (if I had to bet) I would speculate that changes would be prospective and that there would be no penalty for anyone who was forced in based on a change in the law.

Agencies can request to have John Grobe, or another of Federal Career Experts' qualified instructors, deliver a retirement or transition seminar to their employees. FCE instructors are not financial advisers and will not sell or recommend financial products to class participants. Agency Benefits Officers can contact John Grobe at johnfgrobe@comcast.net to discuss schedules and costs.

About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a firm that provides pre-retirement training and seminars to a wide variety of federal agencies. FCE’s instructors are all retired federal retirement specialists who educate class participants on the ins and outs of federal retirement and benefits; there is never an attempt to influence participants to invest a certain way, or to purchase any financial products. John and FCE specialize in retirement for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers.