This is a long shot. I turn 65 this year and need to decide whether or not to take Medicare Part B. Are there any retired Feds here who have done this analysis? If it's worth anything I currently have BCBS Basic. If I understand the brochure if I take Part B and keep the BCBS the latter will pay all the Medicare deductibles and co-pays. So it seems like my necessary comparison is between the Part B premium and my anticipated BCBS co-pays. (This option has no deductible but a co-pay every time you scratch your nose.) But that seems almost too straightforward.For non-Feds, unless in retirement you stay in the same pool and pay the same rates as active employees (for life), you wouldn't understand.PhilRule Your Retirement Home Fool
Phil I don't have any data and you undoubtedly have considered this, but just incase -#1 What assurance do you have you will have access to your BCBS in future years? A lot of retirees from General Motors, Delta and even companies that did not go through bankruptcy have had their medical insurance eliminated.#2 Do you have assurance your BCBS plan will not have significant changes in terms of premiums, deductibles and co-pays? #3 In Georgia at least several insurance companies are no longer offering medical converge for people over age 65. BCBS is a large insurer, but they dropped any coverage for folks over age 64 within the last couple of years. So what happens if BCBS stops sale in your location? #4 Most people cannot pay the remaining 20% of medical cost after Medicare Part-B coverage. If you do not sign up for Part-B and a Supplement when you turn 65, you are not guaranteed the option of getting a Supplement should your health change. There is an exception if you are covered by a Spouse's insurance and if that plan meets and exceeds Medicare Part-B coverage. (This needs be be in writing. I have been there and done that.)Here is an information set that is long, but pretty complete.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicare_(United_States)
Phil, my best friend is retired Civil Service. Although she chose to go with her husband's insurance (Tri-Care for Life - military retired), she explained to me the choices she would have if she decided to stay with the Fed program. When you retire, you will sign up for Medicare Part B, your BCBS will then become a Medigap policy.Hope this helps,Donna
Consumer's Checkbook(checkbook.org) publishes a yearly guide to the options available under the federal civilian employee plans offers extensive guidance to the costs of these plans with or without Medicare after 65. For plan year 2013 average total medical costs(co-pays, deductible, insurance, Medicare B withholding, etc.) to a single annuitant under BC-basic with Medicare A and B is $3960. Dropping Medicare B reduces the average yearly cost to $3350, a savings of $610 per year if you can keep all your medical use to inhouse Blue Cross network suppliers. Another possible problem besides out-of-network costs is a major change in Obamacare rules affecting Medicare and federal employee health insurance.I recommend that you purchase the yearly guide for its analysis of all these and many more aspects of this choice and many other issues dealing with the federal employee's and annuitant health plans. Incidently, when I reach 65, I plan to drop Medicare B, an keep Geha-Std and Medicare A.
Thanks, WPatch.PhilRule Your Retirement Home Fool
I am happy to see this issue addressed by someone with knowledge of this issue. I wish I had an answer or even a reasonable comment.I, too, am a retired FED and have recently faced the same issue. I did some research (by no means in depth), and the general consensus seems to be "it depends."I have signed up (though not effective until 2014) for Plan B after much thought. I will keep my BCBS (Standard plan) as it really covers a lot. It amazing to see the expressions on the faces of local pharmacy customers when my prescriptions (not all of them, for sure) cost less that $1. An $8,000 visit to an ER resulted in a cost to me of zero.The main problem I have is that monthly premium cost to me of BCBS is approx. $500 (wife and self), and that stays the same even when Plan B starts paying for most of the non Plan A costs. this seems like a windfall for BCBS and, don't forget, there is a premium cost to PLan B. I'm not sure if it is worth it, but have medical condition making maximum coverage probably the best choice.
I have signed up (though not effective until 2014) for Plan B after much thought. I will keep my BCBS (Standard plan) as it really covers a lot. It amazing to see the expressions on the faces of local pharmacy customers when my prescriptions (not all of them, for sure) cost less that $1. An $8,000 visit to an ER resulted in a cost to me of zero.Thanks for the response. I too did a lot of research, including luckily, having some friends who have already faced this. I went through the last 12 months co-pays (my BCBS basic option has no deductibles) and found that they were cheaper than the Part B premium would be, by several hundred dollars. Just Friday I sent in my "Thanks, but no thanks" Part B card. We'll see. If it turns out I've made a horrible miscalculation I can fix it later.You might want to take a look at the BCBS basic option during the upcoming FEHB open season. The premiums are certainly lower than those for standard option, but I don't know how well it would work for your particular situation. It looks to me like it pays all of your Medicare deductibles and co-pays when you have Medicare Parts A and B. Drug coverage is no difference for either BCBS option regardless of what you do about Medicare.How in the world do old people without their wits about them deal with all this?PhilRule Your Retirement Home Fool
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