Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Medicare Part B

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Q. I am confused about your Oct. 22 answer to “Medicare Part B in retirement.”

I am 63, retired, receiving my Social Security benefit, have coverage with Blue Cross/Blue Shield for my wife and myself, am not employed, and have no plans to return to work. It is my understanding that BC/BS requires purchase of Part B when I become eligible in a year or so. Yet, the answer to the question seemed unequivocal in stating that B is optional. Can you clarify for me, please?

A. Don’t be confused. What I wrote is correct. To back that up, here’s what the Office of Personnel Management has to say on the subject: “You don’t have to take Part B coverage if you don’t want it, and your Federal Employees Health Benefits plan can’t require you to take it.”

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  1. Judy T. Says:
    October 28th, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Maybe your FEHB plan can’t REQUIRE you to take Part B coverage, but the explanations from my GEHA plan certainly assume you will and maybe you must. It is vague. Also they describe services Part B covers that the plan doesn’t — skilled care in a nursing home is an example. However, what they also say is that if you decide to enroll in Part B at a later date, the monthly premium will cost you more.