By Reg Jones
Q. In 2007, my wife (FERS) and I (CSRS) were federal employees and both carried Standard Self Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage.
I retired in late 2007 and carried my Standard Self BC/BS coverage into retirement.
In early 2010, my wife dropped her Standard Self BC/BS coverage, and I added her to my coverage that I changed to Standard Family BC/BS.
For economic reasons, we are now thinking of both going back to Standard Self BC/BS and cannot remember why we switched to self and family in the first place. Is there a difference or advantage of one over the other in coverage?
Also, my wife will retire in late 2014, and we don’t want to make the change to self if it will prevent her from carrying her health coverage into retirement.
Can you think of any advantage of having Standard Family BC/BS coverage instead of each one of us returning to Standard Self BC/BS coverage?
Q. I’m currently (last 10 years) enrolled in the Blue Cross Standard family plan #105, for my wife and myself. Once I turn 65 and enroll in Medicare, would I continue with the same plan or enroll in a lesser plan such as the Blue Cross Basic family plan #112 to save money? One would think that with Medicare kicking in at age 65, which subsidizes medical cost, the supplemental Blue Cross plan would cost less. Does that sound right?
Q. I am covered as a retiree from the Postal Service under a Federal Employees Health Benefits plan. I am also covered on a plan under my name from my late husband’s employer, from which he retired. The rules for coordination of benefits state that if you are covered under two plans in your name, the plan that you had longer would be primary. Since I retired in July, my FEHB plan changed in that it is no longer paid with pretax dollars; it is paid monthly and the premium is not the postal rate but the rate other federal workers and retirees pay. To me, this is not the same plan I had, and I am thinking the other plan would now be primary since I have had that plan for over two years. Also, over the years, I sometimes only had insurance through my husband, sometimes had both and sometimes just had FEHB. Can I safely say that because of the changes in July that the other insurance is now primary?
Q. I am a federal employee with federal health insurance but no vision or dental insurance. I’m covered under my husband’s nonfederal vision and dental. He plans to retire in 2014. At that time, I plan to add him to my health insurance, which I have had for over five years. Can I wait to elect the federal vision and dental insurance at that time, or must I elect them during the current open season to avoid loss of coverage if my husband retires before the next open season?
Q. I was a federal law enforcement officer who retired this year under CSRS. My wife is a federal employee who will work six or seven more years. We have Blue Cross/Blue Shield-Fed as our health plan. The premiums have always been paid out of my salary. Would it be most beneficial for us to have the health coverage premiums made from my annuity or from my spouse’s salary. Would there be any negatives to having those premiums made from my spouse’s salary?
Q. Will Medicare or my spouse’s Federal Employees Health Benefits be my primary? He has been employed for 40 years and is still working for a federal agency. I am covered under his Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Q. I am 50 years old and have worked for the Department of the Navy for 25 years under FERS. The last five years of my career has been part time (20 hours per week). My wife has also worked for the Navy for 12 years (full time under FERS) and provides our Federal Employee Health Benefits family plan coverage. I have been covered by an FEHB plan consecutively for over 25 years. If I were offered early retirement, could I pick up the FEHB family plan coverage and carry it into retirement with me? If not, why not?
Q. I noticed on the plan for Group Health Coop, the only premiums listed are for “self only” and “self and family.” As only my wife and myself are to be covered, is there a different premium for “self plus one”? I have seen this category on other policies.
Q. My husband is retired Postal Service, with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medicare Part A.
I will be 65 in March but only have 37 credits and do not qualify for Social Security or Medicare, according to my SS statement.
I would like to know if I qualify for Part A under my husband’s Medicare benefits and, if so, what will happen to that benefit if he dies before I do? Due to medical issues, I do not plan to work in to get those last three credits.
Q. I am a retired federal employee. I kept my Blue Cross/Blue Shield under the Federal Employees Health Benefits. My husband is retired Army and is covered by Tricare for Life, Medicare and my Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I am also covered under my husband’s Tricare but not Tricare for Life. Do I need to sign up for anything else when I turn 65 in January?
Q. I am a federal employee under CSRS enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program with self-and-family coverage for myself, my wife and my daughter (under age 26). We have been covered under the FEHB program for more than five years. My wife is also a federal employee under FERS. We also have FEDVIP vision plan coverage.
I may retire next year, which will be three years or so before my wife retires. In view of the fact that as a retiree, my FEHB premiums would no longer be deducted pretax, I am considering canceling my enrollment and having my wife enroll through her federal employment, during the current open season. Then the premiums would continue to be pretax until she retires.
However, I have some concerns about making this change.
1. Would this affect either her or me in terms of the requirement to be in the FEHB program for five years before retirement to continue coverage into retirement?
2. What documentation is required to prove participation as a covered family member?
3. Would I continue to be covered if the FEHB enrollment is through her federal employment (and later retirement) in the event that she passes away before me?
4. Would this change affect our daughter’s coverage under the plan in any way?
5. Would my wife have to provide a survivor annuity benefit for me to continue FEHB coverage if she passed first?
Are there any other considerations that I should be aware of as far as you know?
Q. My wife and I are covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan, but do not have Medicare Part B. She is 77 and I am 83. Consequently, to enroll in Part B now would be cost prohibitive. We are currently enrolled in an HMO, so Part B is not a problem. If we were not in an HMO, how much would we be penalized if we were in a service benefit plan without Part B? For example, if we were in Blue Cross Standard, what additional costs would we incur without Part B?
Q. My girlfriend and I have been living together for a number of years. She is covered by her own insurance at her work, and I am retired and covered under Federal Employees Health Benefits self only. When she retires, she will be uninsured until she is eligible for Medicare. Is there any way for me to enroll in family coverage and have her covered?
Q. I have been a federal employee for five years as a registered nurse. I am not enrolled in Federal Employees Health Benefits. I am covered under my spouse’s medical/dental health plan because it is more affordable. We both want to be covered under FEHB when I retire due to lifetime coverage. I understand I need to be continuously enrolled in FEHB for five years before retiring. Do I need to enroll in dental/vision plan, as well, or just the medical health plan. In addition, can I just choose self only?
Q. I am a Postal Service employee under FERS. I am covered under a Federal Employees Health Benefits self-only plan. My wife works in the private sector and carries her own self-only coverage. I plan to retire in six years, and I know I need to be insured for five years prior. My wife cannot carry her insurance into her retirement. Do I need to carry her on my policy for five years before I retire or can I add her nearer to my retirement date?
Q. We have Federal Employees Health Benefits coverage. My husband hopes to retire within five years, and we are thinking of adding dental coverage during this open season. He understands that any change in coverage will jeopardize our carrying health coverage into retirement. Please explain how changes in coverage affect coverage in retirement.
Q. My husband recently retired under FERS. He has the Federal Employees Health Benefits family plan. I am still working and will be for at least another 10 years under FERS. If I pick up the FEHB in open season, will he be able to switch back to FEHB once the kids reach 26 and are off our health plan, so both of us could pick up single coverage (if it’s cost advantageous at that time)? Will the switch in primary recipient be considered a cancellation on his part so that he can’t re-enroll in the future, or will my husband be able to pick up self-only when the time comes?
Q. My husband and I are employed with different federal agencies. He is with the Veterans Affairs Department, and I am with the Defense Department. He has covered me under a family plan for the past 10 years. We are both preparing for retirement next year. Our daughter turned 27 this year and is no longer eligible for coverage under the family plan. So it is cheaper for each of us to elect our own self insurance plans, rather than for him to continue the family plan. If I elect a self plan this open season, and then retire next year, how will the Office of Personnel Management know that I have been covered under Federal Employees Health Benefits for the required five years? I don’t want to be stuck without coverage eligibility after I retire.
Q. I retired in 2006 from the Small Business Administration and have always had the Blue Cross/Blue Shield family plan. I carried this family plan into retirement.
My wife is also a federal employee and plans to retire in 2014. She is covered under my plan — that is, she never had an individual plan of her own.
I noticed that there is a $60-per-month difference between the family plan and two individual plans. Since my wife has been covered under my plan for more than five years, can she sign up for an individual plan during this open season and carry it into her retirement? (I would switch from a family plan to my own individual plan.)
November 20th, 2013 | annuity reduction Coverage after retirement Creditable service: CSRS CSRS annuity computation EMPLOYMENT HEALTH INSURANCE Military service deposits PAY Postal Service RETIREMENT self and family SOCIAL SECURITY spouse benefits
Q. I have 31 years with the Postal Service, four years military. Started with USPS in March 1982. Also a disabled vet.
I am confused with the payback issue regarding my military service from 1974 to 1978. I opted not to pay back and, according to everything I am reading, if I do not qualify for Social Security at 62, there will not be a deduction in annual annuity.
However, I note that in the CSRS and FERS Handbook, it states the following:
“If nondeduction service was performed before Oct. 1, 1982, and deposit is not made, the basic annual annuity is reduced by 10 percent of deposit plus interest owed.”
I do not have enough credits to qualify for Social Security, thus I’m not sure if this applies to me.
Also, I would like to use the Veterans Affairs Department when I retire. However, I am not sure how to provide health insurance to my spouse. Should I keep my present insurance that covers her, or are there other options?