Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

FEHB and Medicare

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Q. I am a federal retiree and have the standard BC/BS coverage for my spouse and myself, plus Medicare Parts A and B. Our only out-of-pocket expenses with these plans are co-pays for prescriptions. Other federal retirees tell me I am over-insured and should drop Medicare Part B.

If I did this, would I still have the same coverage I have now, or would I then have out-of-pocket expenses?

A. When you have both FEHB and Medicare Part B (medical insurance), your benefits are coordinated. As a result, you will have fewer out-of-pocket expenses. The reason you can’t find an answer that satisfies you is that there are so many variables. In the end, you’ll have to make up your own mind whether the cost of premiums for Part B is sufficiently offset by the coverage you get — and the reduction or, in some cases, elimination of out-of-pocket expenses — to make the expenditure worth it to you. Keep in mind that what might seem like a waste of money now, when you are hale and hearty, may seem like a blessing if your health deteriorates. On the other hand, if you remain healthy to the last day of your life, you’ll have bought protection you didn’t need.

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