Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Medicare Part B

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Q. I will apply for Medicare Part A when I reach 65 as a FERS retiree. My wife will not be eligible for eight years after, and I will retain my federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield family policy. She also has a state BC/BS policy in which I am included. Her policy does not carry over into retirement, so I will keep mine until she is eligible for Medicare. If I wait until she no longer has me under her policy, will I be entitled to then apply for Medicare Part B without penalty under the Substantially Equal Periodic Payment exception, or do I need to do it when I am eligible for Medicare to avoid the 10 percent-per-year penalty?

A. If that health plan is based on her current employment, you can enroll without penalty during the eight-month period that begins the first full month after you are no longer covered under that plan based on her current employment.

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