Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

FEHB health benefits

Bookmark and Share

Q. I worked for the federal government for 18 years under the FERS plan. I was enrolled in the FEHB program for the entire length of my employment. I resigned in my 40s. I am now 57 and have been rehired as a government employee, and I have enrolled in the FEHB program once again. I am past my minimum retirement age at this point. If I retire in the next few years, am I eligible to keep my health benefits even though I will not have worked five years since I was re-employed?
Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare

Bookmark and Share

Q. I’m enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. It seems taking Part A of Medicare, which is free, can’t hurt. Is that true? How would taking Part B of Medicare help or hurt? I now also cover my wife and three children.

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare

Bookmark and Share

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am retiring next month. I am over 70. I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield. If I get Medicare parts A and B, do I still need BC/BS?

Read the rest of this entry »

Insurance premium and tax deduction

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am retired and collect an annuity from the government. I also pay a monthly premium for insurance. Is the premium deductible along with any other out-of-pocket costs that I can claim on my income taxes?

Read the rest of this entry »

Involuntary separation, health insurance and deferred retirement

Bookmark and Share

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

FEHB premiums after retirement

Bookmark and Share

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

Deferred annuity and FEHB

Bookmark and Share

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

Re-employment after retirement

Bookmark and Share

Q. I retired, I believe, under the MRA + 10 program, at the end of my member’s term. I have a total of 13 + years with the House of Representatives. I get a small annuity. I may have an opportunity to return to full-time service with the Department of Homeland Security. How will that affect my retirement? I assume the annuity would go away but am not sure how the health care would be handled. And I have been retired almost five years now. Will this new position accrue along with my previous 13 (since they were with the House and not GS)?

Read the rest of this entry »

Social Security and FEHB with FERS annuity

Bookmark and Share

Q. I will be 70 years old in October 2015. I understand if I wait to collect Social Security benefits until that time, my monthly benefit will approximate $3,030. As of August 2010, I started working for the federal government as a GS-13. I plan on retiring under FERS in September 2015, at which time I will have completed 60 months of continuous civilian service. I understand that my monthly FERS annuity will approximate $500. Is there any offset to either Social Security or FERS monthly annuity benefits based on receiving both of these benefits simultaneously?

Assuming continuation of excellent health, I will likely also have additional income at that time. Should I anticipate restrictions on the amount of active or passive additional income that I can earn or any offset to either social security or FERS annuity?

A second question involves health benefits after retirement. I understand that after completing 60 months of civilian service, I can retain current Blue Cross/Blue Shield health benefits with the exception that I must pay both the employee and employer premiums myself. The real benefit is having access to this coverage under group rate available to the government.

Where would I look to find comparative benefit information for Blue Cross/Blue Shield after retirement with those typical benefits through Medicare and those benefits through the Affordable Care Act?

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare

Bookmark and Share

Q. I received notice that as of this month, Medicare will be deducting about $104 a month from my Social Security. My wife is 55 and employed. I am on her coverage. Must I have Medicare now if I am covered by my wife’s plan for another 10 years?

Read the rest of this entry »

Deferred/postponed annuity

Bookmark and Share

Q. Do I have any options for early retirement that will allow me to keep Federal Employees Health Benefits if I retire at age 52-55 with 20-23 years of service with a minimum retirement age of 57? I know I can take postponed, but then I lose FEHB. So I was wondering if there was any other way.

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare refund?

Bookmark and Share

Q. I began work for the Department of Agriculture in April 1957, and continued until Oct. 24, 1957, when I was drafted into the Army. I was honorably discharged Oct. 23, 1959, and returned to work for the USDA, where I continued to work until I retired Oct. 31, 2006. During my tenure with the USDA, I was covered under CSRS.

I have spoken to several federal employees about my retirement. Since I retired with more than 41 years and nine months under CSRS but continued to pay my Medicare until my retirement date of Oct. 31, 2006, they told me that I was entitled to a refund for these payments.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dependents

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am enrolled in Blue Cross/Blue Shield under the federal employee program. I’m also approaching 65. I have two children under age 18. Will Medicare be primary for them also?

Read the rest of this entry »

Switching health insurance coverage

Bookmark and Share

Q. I recently changed my coverage in Federal Employees Health Benefits (Aetna) and found that the total coverage eliminated my retirement annuity, except for $19. Is there a way to change that back to my original health insurance coverage?

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare Part D

Bookmark and Share

Q. When I sign up for Medicare at the qualifying age of 65, am I required to get a Part D (prescription drugs) insurance plan since federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield has a prescription coverage included in it?

Read the rest of this entry »

Health care premiums

Bookmark and Share

Q. Where do you find the cost of health care premiums for Blue Cross federal for a rural carrier under FERS?

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare Part B

Bookmark and Share

Q. I am 61 years old, a retired postal worker. My husband is turning 65 in July. I carry our medical insurance, Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Should my husband sign up for Medicare Part B, or is he required to do so?

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare

Bookmark and Share

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, my wife still works and 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Disabled dependent and health insurance in retirement

Bookmark and Share

Q. I have a disabled adult daughter living with my husband and me. By the time I am able to retire in eight years, I will meet criteria of having 20 years of federal Service and age 62+. My daughter and husband will have been on my health insurance, vision, and dental insurances by then for more than 10 years. I know my husband can continue on my insurance when I retire. Can my daughter also?

Read the rest of this entry »