By Reg Jones
Q. I will become Medicare qualified as of April 1. Is it possible for me to suspend my coverage? If so, are there any penalty/requirements? Is there a waiting period to get back in to the plan?
January 22nd, 2014 | annuity reduction Benefits Creditable service: FERS Early retirement FEHBP HEALTH INSURANCE Minimum retirement age PAY RETIREMENT SOCIAL SECURITY Special retirement supplement spouse benefits
Q. My husband is 66 years old and retired last year with full Social Security benefits. My daughter is receiving Social Security benefits until she graduates from high school at age 18. I was told that had my salary not exceeded the maximum amount allowed, I would also receive some benefits until my daughter turns 18.
I am 54 years old, a federal worker under FERS with 23 years of service. My office is going through a major reorganization. I understand that if I am offered an early retirement, I will have immediate annuities without the 5 percent reduction each year under 62), will have Federal Employees Health Benefits and have the special retirement supplement when I am at my minimum retirement age.
1. I assume that since I won’t have a job, I will be able to receive Social Security benefits until my daughter turns 18 and graduates from high school in June 2016. I will be at my MRA in January 2015. At my MRA, will I be able to continue receiving my Social Security benefits and the special retirement supplement simultaneously?
2. When I turn 62 and the special retirement supplement stops, should I apply for Social Security benefits from my husband’s retirement until I am at my full retirement age (66 and 10 months)? This way, I would have my own full Social Security retirement benefits without reduction. Am I correct?
Q. Do I have to be on active federal service to apply for retirement? In other words, can I resign from my current GS job, not work and check the “retired scene” for a month or two (i.e. take a break), then apply for retirement if I so desire, but keep the option not to retire and apply instead for another job if I find not working to be boring?
And if my decision is to go ahead and retire, are there special requirements? How do I apply for retirement if/when I am not on current register?
Q. I have reached retirement age and applied for Medicare. I signed up for Medicare Part A but am unsure if I must sign up for Medicare Part B. I have Federal Employees Health Benefits and carried it into retirement. I assume my FEHB will cover the same items as Medicare Part B. Do I have to sign up for Medicare Part B and be charged for Medicare Part B as long as I have FEHB coverage? Seems like the only one gaining on this is the FEHB plan as second payer for physicians’ services.
Q. My 21-year-old daughter is disabled (diagnosed with osteosarcoma at age 14, limb salvage and metastatic). My husband retired from the Postal Service a few years ago, and she has been continued on our insurance plan through Federal Employees Health Benefits as she is under age 26.
1. At age 26, will she be allowed to remain on our FEHB insurance, which is her current primary coverage. She is on SSI and also has state Medicaid, which is her current secondary insurance coverage.
2. When my husband turns 65 and is Medicare eligible, will we be able to keep her as a child adult daughter on FEHB?
Q. I understand if I’m over 55 and I remarry, I will not lose my survivor benefits. What about health care? I am now enrolled in the federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan. Would that change if I decided to remarry?
Q. I am 52 years old, 25 years in FERS, potentially being offered a Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. If I do the VSIP, I will be employable at my current salary outside the government.
If I take the VSIP, can I carry my Federal Employees Health Benefits into retirement if I pay for it?
Can I delay collecting my retirement until age 62 and carry my FEHB through to retirement?
Q. I have eight years and six months working for the federal government, but I am 64 years old. No CSRS time, only FERS. Am I eligible to participate in the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay, if one is offered and would I be able to carry over my health care benefits?
Q. Due to the Affordable Care Act, the numbers of people with increased health care risks will be able to get health insurance. The insurance companies are not restricted from charging as much as it takes to provide the coverage and make a great profit. Will these additional costs be passed on to those now covered by Federal Employees Health Benefits, including retirees? Also, the federal employees’ pay and retirees’ cost-of-living adjustments are frozen!
Q. My mother died while working for the Postal Service at age 60. My father is a survivor annuitant receiving a pension and paying for health care premiums under the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan. My father is turning 65 and eligible for Medicare. Does he have the option of declining Part B and carrying over his current FEHB health care for his lifetime?
Q. With respect to a recent post on Medicare Part B, just a quick follow-up to help me see the answer.
In the previous post, the person was a retired male under age 65 covered by self and family in the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan, so his working wife, age 65, has health coverage and doesn’t need Part B per your previous response since she is both working and covered.
1. When the male, who is retired, turns 65, does he have the option to carry the FEHB coverage past 65 so he doesn’t have to sign up for Part B even though he must register for Medicare?
2. If he can carry the FEHB coverage past age 65, does the situation change for his working wife?
3. If he has to switch to Part B coverage at age 65, does the situation change for his working wife?
Q. I’m a retired federal employee (CSRS). My wife and I both have federal health insurance. My wife is still working (self-employed) and will be turning 65 this year. She went to sign up for Medicare and was told she had to also sign up for Medicare Part B or be penalized even though we have health insurance through Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Social Security Administration said if I was still actively federally employed, she would not be required to take Part B and there would be no penalty. Another person she spoke with from SSA said she is not required to take Part B and there would be no penalty since we have health insurance.
What is correct?
Also, when I turn 65 will I be required to sign up for Part B?
Q. My wife is 65 and is retiring under FERS from federal service at age 66 (in one month). I resigned under FERS two years and three months ago while not old enough for Medicare but was self-employed for the past two years, now employed by a nongovernment contractor.
I had Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage separate from my wife’s FEHB coverage while employed in federal government service. My wife had her own coverage until I quit federal employment, then she started FEHB family coverage to cover both of us. She had Medicare coverage simultaneously for part of the last year because she was required to apply for Medicare benefits at age 65 and she was not sure of how to keep my coverage so we doubled up temporarily.
In a retirement seminar, my wife was told to stay with her FEHB plan when retiring because of better coverage for her extensive medical needs than a Medicare plan would give. Will I be covered as a spouse under her plan while my wife is retiring and be covered into her retirement without being dropped? I have had continual FEHB coverage for over 20 years, including the past two years in the family plan and the previous 20 in a single plan.
Q. I have been employed with the Postal Service for 26 years. I am 64 years old and am eligible for retirement. I would like to work for another year. I have some health issues. If I should die while I am still working, would I lose all that I have paid in to my retirement, or would my wife get my retirement benefits? If so, how much? Or would she only get my life insurance benefit?
Q. My husband is a federal retiree, 69 and on Medicare and federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I begin Medicare on March 1. Will our BC/BS premium drop because it then only covers 20 percent? It’s like $500 monthly. Is it wise and cost effective to keep it, or should we look for a BC/BS supplement in Virginia?
Q. I have some questions regarding retirement under FERS:
1. They used to allow lump-sum withdrawal of your own contributions to your retirement so you could transfer to your own IRA. Is that still an option, or has that since been rescinded?
2. My wife and I are contemplating not taking survivor benefits because she will get my Thrift Savings Plan and Social Security payments. Also, I have provided enough life insurance to cover her income. The question was raised that she would then not be eligible for my Federal Employees Health Benefits for medical if I was deceased. What is the rule concerning that issue?
Q. I am considering leaving federal service. I have 13 years of service. I’m 59. No problem getting deferred annuity at 62. But I wanted to know if I can still get a health insurance option?
Q. Reading some of the questions that are being answered, there is some confusion. Some say if you retire at your minimum retirement age, you will not be able to continue health care coverage, but you must wait to retire at 60 to be able to remain in program. Other answers have been you can have your health care coverage renewed when you reach 60 when you apply for your deferred annuity. Can you clear this up? If I retire at my MRA which is 56, will my health care coverage continue?
Q. I am a FERS employee with the Postal Service with over 30 years of service, including my military time. I am considering retiring in a year. After I retire, will my health insurance premium be taxable? Or is it pretax?
Q. Are there any benefits available if one leaves federal service early — 15+ years but two years shy of their minimum retirement age?