In the past, those with federal employee health benefits (FEHB) very often didn’t utilize Medicare. However, this has changed in recent years.
FEHB & Part A
Your first option is to enroll in just Medicare Part A. Medicare Part A is your hospital insurance. It will help to cover:
Nursing home care
Nursing facility care
Home health care
For most people, there is no premium for Medicare Part A so there is really no downside to enrolling.
You should be aware though, if you choose no to enroll in Part B and do so at a later date, you will be subject to a late penalty. Your premium will go up 10% for each 12 month period you are without Part B coverage.
FEHB & Part A + Part B
Oftentimes, FEHB does not offer the full range of benefits as offered by Medicare. You may not need access to these benefits when you are younger or possibly never at all. However, this can become problematic should you need more extensive coverage.
For this reason, some people choose to enroll in Part A and Part B in addition to their FEHB. This will provide truly comprehensive coverage, but it certainly comes at a cost. You will have to pay whatever you pay for your FEHB plus Medicare Part B. In 2022, the base monthly premium is $170.10. But it could be more based on your income.
Original Medicare plus FEHB may provide you similar coverage as Original Medicare plus a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap). So, why would you bother switching? Really this comes down to price. Compare the amount that you’re paying with a Medicare Supplement Plan. Which is less expensive?
You should know if you choose to switch your FEHB for Medigap you will not be able to switch back.
Your final option is Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage). Medicare Advantage will replace Original Medicare entirely. There are pros and cons to this option.
It is less expensive than Original Medicare plus a Supplement of FEHB. Also there are often extra benefits such as dental, vision, hearing, and prescription drug coverage.
However, it is a much smaller network which can be very limiting. BUT, if you choose to switch to Medicare Advantage you can temporarily suspend your FEHB and switch back if you so choose.
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