By Reg Jones
Q. I retired from a federal agency in 2005 and have maintained my Federal Employees Health Benefits plan into retirement. I accepted employment at the county level where I live. They offer an excellent benefit package, including an attractive health plan. I’m thinking about working there for a few years, and I’m trying to find out what options are available to me as far as choosing which medical insurance to go with.
I recently heard about suspending my FEHB plan so I can reactivate it at a later date. If this is possible, I can take advantage of the county’s health benefits package while employed there, then re-enroll in my FEHB plan when I leave them in the future. While this sounds great, I am having trouble trying to find out all the details I should know about suspending my FEHB plan before I jump in. Can you help?
Q. I have reached my MRA+10, and I am considering retiring. Since I am 60, I would like to postpone receipt of my annuity until 62 to avoid the age reduction. I have been told by my servicing HR department, which is not in my agency, that I must resign my position.
I have read the FERS handbook and noted that it recommends one not resign since it could affect survivor benefits should I die before applying for the annuity. Also, I read that the HR department must fill out the SF 3100 and add a remark “Appears to be eligible for immediate MRA+10 retirement annuity.” Also, a remark should be added to indicate if the employee appears to be eligible to continue Federal Employees Health Benefits and Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance coverage.
I would like to pick up my FEGLI when I begin my annuity at 62. My husband is a federal employee and pays for my FEHB and LTC insurance. The HR department seems unwilling to assist me and is just telling me to resign and submit the RI 92-19 60 days before the date I choose to receive the annuity. What is the correct way to separate from federal service in this instance? If it is retirement and not resignation, how does one separate without resigning? Do you have any suggestions on how to get the HR department to assist?
January 28th, 2014 | Creditable service: CSRS Creditable service: FERS CSRS annuity computation Deferred retirement EMPLOYMENT FEHBP FERS annuity computation HEALTH INSURANCE High-3 LIFE INSURANCE PAY Postal Service Re-enrollment RETIREMENT
Q. I am a 60 percent disabled veteran, so I earn a disability income. When I started work at the Postal Service, I bought my military time back so it would count toward retirement, so my service date is Sept. 1, 2001 (actually started in 2006). I am 46 years old now and I am looking to leave the USPS within three to four years. What options do I have for retirement? Could you explain deferred annuity and any other options available to me?
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 read an answer here that cleared up part of my confusion: “If you are retired and have (FERS) coverage and you have Medicare A and Medicare B, you will have very little out-of-pocket expenses.” That answers my question if I should have Medicare B. Now, how do I know what Medicare B is going to cost? I have about 10-18 people calling me every day, wanting to sign me up for Medicare. Should I sign up with one of these people, or should I sign up through the Office of Personnel Management? My 65th birthday is in April, so I have to make a decision.
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 am CSRS. I earned my 40 quarters before becoming a fed. I plan to retire May 2 at almost 65 years old. I am not going to apply for Social Security until 66. I will have almost 37 years of combined federal service. When I apply for Medicare Part A at 65, there will be no cost, correct? When I go on Social Security, there will be no cost for Medicare Part A, correct?
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. On a recent post: “Are the health care premiums taxed once we retire if we retire with law enforcement officer retirement?”
You responded: There is a $3,000 deduction available for law enforcement officers.
Where can I obtain more information about the deduction?
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. If you run out of sick and annual leave due to medical problems, how and where do you pay your health care premiums? I don’t want to take any chances of losing it.
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. I need information as to how Medicare Part B premiums are paid when the following applies, per CMS.HHS:
“If you are not set up on your spouse’s Social Security number with a B or D following the Medicare number.”
My wife’s Medicare Part B card has a B following the Medicare number. When my wife retires from the Postal Service with an immediate CSRS annuity, her Social Security benefit, which is now used to pay the Part B premiums, will be greatly reduced due to the windfall elimination provision. If she cannot have the premiums deducted from her Social Security benefit, is there some other way/process for her pay the Part B premiums.
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. Are the health care premiums taxed once we retire if we retire with law enforcement officer retirement?