Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Health care premiums

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Q. My ex-husband is retiring from the post office and right now he covers our 21-year-old daughter on his insurance plan. Will he still be able to keep himself and her covered with the same cost he is paying now, or will the cost be higher? Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

FEHB re-enrollment after disability

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Q. I have been approved for Federal Retirement Disability after having applied for it almost 15 months ago. I am receiving interim payments. I was separated from my federal position before I applied and could not afford to pay for COBRA benefits during the time I waited to be approved. When could I anticipate receiving my health insurance benefits back? How will they calculate my portion of the health insurance premium? Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare deductions from annuities

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Q. Will Medicare continue to be deducted until an employee is age 65, or do deductions stop once they retire (at age 59 or 60)? Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare

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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.

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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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Medicare

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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?

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Insurance premium and tax deduction

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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?

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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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Social Security and FEHB with FERS annuity

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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?

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Health care premiums

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

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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, 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.

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Medicare Part B

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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.

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Law enforcement retirement

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 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?

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FEHB

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 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!

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Health care premiums

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 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.

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Medicare Part B for survivor

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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?

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Medicare Part B

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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.

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Taxation of FEHB premiums for law enforcement

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Q. Are the health care premiums taxed once we retire if we retire with law enforcement officer retirement?

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FEHB coverage

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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.

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