Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Medicare Part B penalty

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Q. I am retired under CSRS with survivor benefits for my spouse. I have Medicare Part A and Federal Employees Health Benefits Blue Cross/Blue Shield family plan. My spouse has just become Medicare eligible. Since there is a penalty (140 percent) for me to pick up Part B, we are contemplating continuing with the Medicare Part A and FEHB. The adviser at Social Security questioned our health insurance coverage after I die, noting the penalty in picking up Part B later. I assume that FEHB coverage will continue with the survivor benefits. Also, will the cost of the FEHB become the self-only rate?

A. If you are enrolled in the self and family option and have elected a survivor benefit for your wife, she would be able to continue that coverage and could convert to the self-only option.

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