Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Adding husband to insurance

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Q. I work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and I will be mandatory in 2-1/2 years. I got married in December and my husband is covered by VA. If I add my husband to my health insurance during open season in 2014, will he be able to remain when I retire in January 2016? I’m wondering because he will not have been on my insurance for five years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Health insurance after retirement

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Q. I am 53-year-old female who retired on disability from USPS in 2007. My husband still works at USPS, and I am on his Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance. We are divorcing, and I need my health insurance due to my disability. I need to know if I am eligible for insurance through the USPS since I am a former employee under FERS. Any info will be helpful. Read the rest of this entry »

FEHB and surviving spouse

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Q. Where do I find specific details for the exception to let my surviving spouse continue in FEHB if I do not chose a partial or full survivor annuity? Or is there such an exception? In a 2013 Pre-Retirement Planning class manual dealing with Current Spouse Survivorship, it states surviving spouses who do not receive a survivor annuity cannot continue FEHB. It also states there is an exception for spouses married 30 years or more. I am retired Navy O-5 using both FEHB and Tricare Prime, married 37 years, and trying to decide what to do about health insurance when I retire after 10 years of FERS as a GS-14. I’m sure my FERS annuity will be large enough to warrant paying for the survivor annuity. Yet I am growing nervous about all the DOD proposed changes to Tricare. Read the rest of this entry »

Health insurance options for retirees

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Q. I recently read your comment regarding Medicare part A and Blue Cross coverage being sufficient for most retirees (according to NARFE). In your opinion, would Medicare parts A and B be sufficient for most retirees without Blue Cross coverage? It appears to me that route would be cheaper, but would the coverage be as good? Also, have there been any developments concerning self-plus-one rates for any of the health insurance policies offered to employees or retirees?

A. Only you can determine if the coverage would be as good for you. As for the self-plus-one option, OPM has postponed implementing it until next year.

Switching family health coverage

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Q. I am a retired USPS employee. Presently, I am enrolled with BCBS with self and family option. My wife wants to get Medicare Part B and cease to be enrolled with my FEHBP. Can my wife re-enroll with my plan if she decides to do so later on? Read the rest of this entry »

Tricare and FEHB benefits

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Q. I retired from the Army in 2011 and have been working as a contractor since then. I have just accepted a GS position. I have Tricare (retired) now. Does my new position have the option of Tricare or is that just a military thing? If not, then should I ditch the Tricare for the FEHB? Any advantages/disadvantages either way? Read the rest of this entry »

Suspending FEHB in retirement

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Q. Can you suspend FEHB after retirement if you are eligible for Tricare? Can you elect to go back on FEHB if desired? How would you do this? Read the rest of this entry »

FERS MRA+10 and heath coverage

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Q. If my wife chose to retire now, at her minimum retirement age of 56 with 13 years of FERS service, would she be able to postpone her annuity until age 60?  She currently carries FEHB (self), as long as she has had it the last five years, can I pick her up under my FEHB (self+1 or family) once she retires and then when she becomes 60 she can reinstate her own self-plan at that point? Read the rest of this entry »

MRA health benefits

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Q. I am a reinstated federal employee with the Bureau of Prisons who is 59 years old and has 15 years of service time. I want to retire under the minimum retirement age and understand there is a five percent penalty for every year under the age of 62. But, am I able to keep my federal health insurance until I reach age 65?
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Retirement and health benefits

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Q. If I retire at age 60 with 25 years of federal service, how will it affect my federal medical health benefits? Will I still be eligible for benefits to continue under the FEHB and will my benefit costs remain the same amount as if was working? Read the rest of this entry »

Affordable health insurance options for USPS

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Q. I’m considering an early retirement from USPS. I currently have health insurance that costs me approximately $370 per month. It looks to me like I can actually get comparable coverage through the Obamacare site for less than my contribution to my current health insurance plan based on my projected income after retirement.
Would I be eligible to receive the discounted health plan from the new government program? I know that I’m not eligible to participate now as an employee of USPS because my employer provides health coverage. After retirement, I can continue to receive health benefits through USPS but the cost is much higher than the new health insurance plans. Does the fact that I could continue my existing health plan disqualify me from Obamacare? Read the rest of this entry »

Benefits to Medicare Parts A & B

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Q. My wife works for the VA. I am covered under her BC/BS federal health insurance. I turn 65 in 30 days. Do I need to sign up for Medicare Parts A & B? If I need to sign up and if I use BC/BS plus medicare, are there any advantages? Read the rest of this entry »

Leaving federal service

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Q. I plan on leaving federal service with the VA after 15 years of employment, having worked various jobs at GS-7 and GS-5 levels. I will be 48 years old upon my voluntary leave. Can I collect my VA pension immediately or do I have to wait till I reach a certain age to collect a monthly pension? And if I can collect my VA pension now, can I continue to pay for health insurance via monthly deduction from the pension amount? Read the rest of this entry »

Surviors benefits and continued health insurance

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Q. I am currently enrolled in an insurance program that will pay out excellent benefits should I die before my spouse. I am getting ready to retire under CSRS Offset. How much of a reduced survivor benefit do I need to take to ensure my wife maintains her health benefits? Read the rest of this entry »

CSRS service and Medicare Part A fees

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Q. I have been CSRS with no broken service since 1978. I worked a few part time jobs when I was young, so I have only a few quarters of Social Security. When I turn 65 in a few years, I want to sign up for Medicare Part A and B. I know I will have to pay for Part B, but will my 36 years of CSRS be enough for me to get free Medicare Part A? Read the rest of this entry »

FEHB provider and premiums wrong

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Q. I retired from the U.S. post office in January. I changed my FEHB provider during the 2013 open season, but according to the retirement booklet that OPM sent me in February and my 4/1/14 first full annuity statement, it still shows me as having my old coverage. Will (or should) they automatically correct this? I called OPM about this mistake and was told that it is my responsibility to correct this error by submitting proof of switching providers? Is this correct? Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare

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Q. Does my wife have to sign up for Medicare? If so, when does she have to sign up? And, if my wife does not sign up for Medicare, will she incur any penalty?

Scenario: I am a working FERS employee and my wife still works. She is not a government employee. I have self-and-family Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage. I am not yet age 65. My wife will turn 65 this year.

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Involuntary separation, health insurance and deferred retirement

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Q. I am 57 years and two months old. I am most likely going receive a sanction on my nursing license in late April or early May. I have 21 years and three months of service, including three years of military buyback time. I have carried federal health insurance since 1995. If I wait until the probable board sanction and I get terminated, will I still be able to defer retirement until age 60? Will I still be able to continue health insurance at age 60? Or would it be better to retire the day before the stated board of nursing action and avoid termination? Also, if I am terminated do I go to human resources and apply for deferred retirement, or do I do it through the Office of Personnel Management?

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FEHB premiums after retirement

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Q. I am planning my retirement. Once I retire, do I have to pick up the full amount for my health insurance, or does the government still contribute toward the premium?

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Deferred annuity and FEHB

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Q. I am 57 years and two months old. I have 21 years of federal service (FERS), including two years and 11 months of military buyback time. I am considering early retirement. I have maintained Federal Employees Health Benefits since I started 18 or so years ago. The human resources experts here are telling me that if I defer my retirement to age 60 (which I am eligible) that I can never again receive FEHB. I cannot find that statement anywhere. I have seen a local in-service slide presentation that you can defer retirement until age 60 or 62 and pick up health insurance at that time. Can you tell me what is correct in this scenario?

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