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Medicare and Health Care


*This is a non-medical board. This site shall not be used to seek professional, medical or legal consultation.

Medicare is health insurance for people age 65 or older, under age 65 with certain disabilities, and any age person with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). There are many different parts to Medicare; with all of these options, it can be confusing.

This forum will allow members to share their experience with medicare and seek advice* on certain medicare-related situations.

To read today's top news stories on federal employee pay, benefits, retirement, job rights and other workplace issues visit FederalDaily.com.

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texasvet54  
#1 Posted : Sunday, May 30, 2021 11:22:31 PM(UTC)

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Hello all,

I’m 66 years old and a retired federal employee. I have Medicare part A and I pay for Medicare part B. I have also continued my BC/BS into retirement and I am wondering if I would be better off buying a Medicare supplemental plan through AARP, or any of the many supplemental plans that are offered, and dropping my BC/BS?

I like the fact that my BC/BS covers all of my co-pays and I certainly don’t want to lose that, but paying over $400 a month for my BC/BS coverage is a lot of money if I’m better off with a supplemental plan that will also pick up 100% of my co-pays.

So, are there any retirees that are on Medicare with a supplemental plan and do those plans pay everything after Medicare just like my BC/BS?

Any advice/recommendations?

Also, I’m covered by the VA health system. Does the VA have any way to pick up my co-pays for outside doctors?

Thanks,
TexasVet
GWPDA  
#2 Posted : Monday, May 31, 2021 5:05:24 AM(UTC)
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BC/BS costs a lot. My GEHA standard is $130/month, covers prescriptions, and effectively takes care of the remaining 20% after Medicare. You really need to coordinate your three medical coverages - start with the VA.
old fed  
#3 Posted : Monday, May 31, 2021 2:16:34 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: texasvet54 Go to Quoted Post
Hello all,

I’m 66 years old and a retired federal employee. I have Medicare part A and I pay for Medicare part B. I have also continued my BC/BS into retirement and I am wondering if I would be better off buying a Medicare supplemental plan through AARP, or any of the many supplemental plans that are offered, and dropping my BC/BS?

I like the fact that my BC/BS covers all of my co-pays and I certainly don’t want to lose that, but paying over $400 a month for my BC/BS coverage is a lot of money if I’m better off with a supplemental plan that will also pick up 100% of my co-pays.

So, are there any retirees that are on Medicare with a supplemental plan and do those plans pay everything after Medicare just like my BC/BS?

Any advice/recommendations?

Also, I’m covered by the VA health system. Does the VA have any way to pick up my co-pays for outside doctors?

Thanks,
TexasVet


have you looked into cheaper FEHB plans?

IF you decide to go the route of a supplemental plan, SUSPEND your FEHB, do not cancel it. this leaves you the option of getting back in if you wish.

also funding is always a big question mark especially if you are in a lower priority group.

https://www.va.gov/healt...are-and-other-insurance/
OUtside  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, June 1, 2021 11:43:31 AM(UTC)

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As pointed out by Old Fed, if you SUSPEND, you can return to FEHB later, but if you cancel FEHB in retirement, you would not be able to return to FEHB in future.

In your FEHB plan handbook, there should be a page discussing Medicare Advantage where it points out you can SUSPEND FEHB and take a Medicare Advantage plan. You can then return to FEHB later if you choose to. Medicare Advantage plans are popular and cost effective and are very worth considering.

But I am not sure you can SUSPEND FEHB in order to go the Original Medicare route, ie Parts A and B and a Medicare Supplement plan, which is what you asked about above. If I had to guess, I would think you probably cannot suspend FEHB in favor of Original Medicare. One reason I say this is, no mention is made of suspending FEHB in brochures I have read in the sections discussing Original Medicare (unlike the pages discussing Medicare Advantage).

If you do go the Original Medicare route and leave FEHB entirely, you would need a Medicare Part D plan for prescription drugs because Part B does not ordinarily provide for prescription drugs, so you would have 3 premiums, Parts B and D and the supplement, in that case.

Finally, I think there is a general sense that staying in FEHB is likely a less expensive way to go (premiums, copays, etc) than going the Original Medicare route via leaving FEHB entirely. One reason to say this is, I don't recall anyone posting on this forum they have left FEHB for Original Medicare and are much better off having done so.
old fed  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, June 1, 2021 12:52:06 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: OUtside Go to Quoted Post
As pointed out by Old Fed, if you SUSPEND, you can return to FEHB later, but if you cancel FEHB in retirement, you would not be able to return to FEHB in future.

In your FEHB plan handbook, there should be a page discussing Medicare Advantage where it points out you can SUSPEND FEHB and take a Medicare Advantage plan. You can then return to FEHB later if you choose to. Medicare Advantage plans are popular and cost effective and are very worth considering.

But I am not sure you can SUSPEND FEHB in order to go the Original Medicare route, ie Parts A and B and a Medicare Supplement plan, which is what you asked about above. If I had to guess, I would think you probably cannot suspend FEHB in favor of Original Medicare. One reason I say this is, no mention is made of suspending FEHB in brochures I have read in the sections discussing Original Medicare (unlike the pages discussing Medicare Advantage).

If you do go the Original Medicare route and leave FEHB entirely, you would need a Medicare Part D plan for prescription drugs because Part B does not ordinarily provide for prescription drugs, so you would have 3 premiums, Parts B and D and the supplement, in that case.

Finally, I think there is a general sense that staying in FEHB is likely a less expensive way to go (premiums, copays, etc) than going the Original Medicare route via leaving FEHB entirely. One reason to say this is, I don't recall anyone posting on this forum they have left FEHB for Original Medicare and are much better off having done so.


thanks for clarifying. what I meant was advantage plan, not supplemental. one of these days I'll get my words sorted. :)
OUtside  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, June 1, 2021 1:53:43 PM(UTC)

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You're welcome.

I'm glad the issue came up because I had never thought about it before. I think the answer is you likely cannot suspend in order to go the Original Medicare route, but I am not positive, and given the endless distinctions about these subjects, it would be best to check it out to confirm.

teeeeej  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, June 1, 2021 2:15:13 PM(UTC)
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you cannot suspend to go on Medicare+Medigap. That's a one time decision.

I suppose it could be a good decision, I mean, if you go Medicare+Medigap, you're no worse off than people who did not work for the federal government.

$400/mo seems high for a FEHB. I certainly wouldn't pay $400 for FEHB to be secondary to Medicare, unless you need certain prescriptions covered and that's the most cost effective option or something.



The FEHB plans the work best with Medicare are GEHA Standard, GEHA High and Aetna Direct. BCBS Basic is also a decent choice, but they cover nothing if the biller is outside of the BCBS network, so effectively you'd be on your own after Medicare pays if forced to go out of BCBS network, and if you were to see a provider outside of both Medicare and the BCBS network, you'd be on the hook for the entire bill.
GWPDA  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, June 1, 2021 3:29:56 PM(UTC)
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Citrine  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, June 1, 2021 9:28:11 PM(UTC)
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just pick a cheaper fehb plan.
GWPDA  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, June 2, 2021 1:40:38 PM(UTC)
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Just got this from GEHA/Medicare: https://www.geha.com/plans/medical/medicare
texasvet54  
#11 Posted : Thursday, June 3, 2021 4:18:53 AM(UTC)

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Thanks to all!!!!!

That’s a lot of great information to consider.

One other thing that needs to be mentioned. My BC/BS will reimburse me $800 per year of my Medicare premiums, so that reduces my Medicare costs to about $82/month.

I see advertisements on TV and I receive them in the mail all the time that say that if I buy a certain Medicare supplementsl insurance, my Medicare premium will be reduced to $0.

Does anyone have any familiarity with that? Remember what they say about “if it sounds too good to be true……..”

Thanks
Texasvet
texasvet54  
#12 Posted : Thursday, June 3, 2021 3:15:41 PM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: GWPDA Go to Quoted Post
Just got this from GEHA/Medicare: https://www.geha.com/plans/medical/medicare


Thanks,
Texasvet
teeeeej  
#13 Posted : Sunday, June 6, 2021 10:03:47 AM(UTC)
teeeeej

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Originally Posted by: texasvet54 Go to Quoted Post
Thanks to all!!!!!

That’s a lot of great information to consider.

One other thing that needs to be mentioned. My BC/BS will reimburse me $800 per year of my Medicare premiums, so that reduces my Medicare costs to about $82/month.

I see advertisements on TV and I receive them in the mail all the time that say that if I buy a certain Medicare supplementsl insurance, my Medicare premium will be reduced to $0.

Does anyone have any familiarity with that? Remember what they say about “if it sounds too good to be true……..”

Thanks
Texasvet


That's not possible. There are Medicare Advantage plans that might do that, but not Medicare Supplements. Medicare Supplements cost additional premiums.
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