By Reg Jones
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?
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?
Q. Where do you find the cost of health care premiums for Blue Cross federal for a rural carrier under FERS?
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?
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.
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?
Q. I am 64 years old with 28 years in the post office, all FERS. I would like to retire in March. How long will it take for my Social Security checks, my Thrift Savings Plan account and my Postal Service pension checks to begin? I would like to continue my current health plan and apply for Medicare ASAP. I would also like to keep my current life insurance plans.
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?