Medicare is a difficult topic to parse no matter who you’ve spent your life working for. It is a complicated set of rules, regulations and forms, and it gets even more complex when you pair it with Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB).
And medical benefits are something you absolutely want to make sure you have sorted out as you look to enjoy a long, relaxing, and healthy retirement.
Despite its inherent difficulties, Medicare is a useful – and for many, crucially important – tool in the benefits toolbox for any retiree, but you may have some very specific questions about it. Do you qualify? Is it better than your FEHB plan? What are the differences between Medicare plans? Can you combine your benefits? How much will it cost?
These questions about Medicare basics and more are something we specialize in as federal employee health benefit specialists at Dugan Brown. We understand not only Medicare basics, but also FEHB basics, and how the plans do – and don’t – work together and complement one another.
Here are just a few areas where we can help you plan your health benefits for retirement.
One of the biggest impediments to getting the most out of your Medicare benefits is simply not understanding what your benefits are, what they cover, and how they work.
We help our clients learn about Medicare basics so they can properly choose – and utilize – the benefits they’ve spent their lives paying for.
That means understanding the difference between Medicare parts.
Medicare Part A covers hospital insurance and generally does not require you to pay a premium.
Medicare Part B is more traditional medical insurance which, along with Part A, makes up the Original Medicare.
Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, provides a number of Medicare plans run by private insurers that follow the rules set by Medicare. These plans require a premium, and it’s important to note that Part C is a replacement for Part A and Part B, not an addition to them.
Medicare Part D is specifically for prescription drug coverage and also requires a monthly premium.
Of course, this is a broad overview of Medicare basics, and we have a much more thorough breakdown of benefits so you know exactly what you can expect with each plan, including what is and is not covered under each.
How Do FEHB and Medicare Benefits Complement Each Other?
Whether to include Medicare for federal employees in health benefits varies by person.
Federal employees already have access to Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB), so for many retired federal workers, Medicare and FEHB may provide overlapping and sometimes even contradictory coverage, depending on what part you’re looking at.
Generally speaking, there is no reason to turn down Medicare Part A coverage regardless of your situation, as Medicare Part A does not cost anything as a monthly premium and gives you extra coverage in case you need it. For Part A, the federal employee Medicare cost is essentially zero, and most federal employees will qualify for it without issue.
For the rest, it gets more complicated. Medicare Parts B, C, and D will essentially act as either supplemental or replacement insurance alongside your FEHB plan, and whether they are right for you depends on what kind of coverage you’re looking for.
Some plan combinations are more common than others, but it is an individual decision – some feel more comfortable with public insurance over private, or vice-versa. You may need more or less coverage based on your overall health and that of your family. Some may even be able to save money on premiums and improve benefits by combining their coverage in specific ways.
At Dugan Brown, our job isn’t to make these decisions for you – it’s to empower you to make the best decision for yourself, equipped with all the information you need to do it.
Contact us today so we can help demystify your FEHB and Medicare basics, and set you off on the right foot for a healthy and secure retirement!