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ranger1  
#1 Posted : Friday, August 14, 2009 2:08:18 AM(UTC)

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My husband went on Federal disability and after 2 years was eligible for medicare. After he got on Parts A & B, I found out that my FEHB remains his primary and we still must pay the deductables and copayments before medicare pays on his claims. I don't know if I should drop him from my benefits this open season since it seems we are not getting any out-or-pocket savings keeping him on my benefits. I can retire in 4 years at 56 years old with 30 years and 4 months. If I drop him now can I put him back on my plan before I retire and would pre-existing conditions be an issue?
Avjeffries  
#2 Posted : Friday, August 14, 2009 8:09:02 AM(UTC)

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This would be a great question to ask Ed Zurndorfer!
edalder  
#3 Posted : Friday, August 14, 2009 10:25:29 PM(UTC)

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your FEHB plan will be primary.

Once you actually retire, Medicare should become primary for your spouse.

If your spouse does decide to drop Medicare Part B, he can pick it up again at age 65 without penalty. However, if he decided to reacquire it before that age, there may be a 10% penalty on the premiums for every year that he could have had it but did not. I believe, however, that he could get around it by establishing that the FEHB coverage was primary while your were working. Therefore, if he wanted to drop it now and reacquire it when you retire, he probably would just need to go down to the the SS office with a copy of your separation SF-50.

Most people with access to FEHB RX coverage will not get enough from Medicare Part D to justify the cost. Medicare Part B is different. Many of the FEHB plans will waive your the deductibles and copays, except for prescriptions, with Part B, once it does become primary.

I had a somewhat similar issue with my spouse who is self-employed and also getting retirement Social Security (over 65). We decided that until I retired, there was little point in him taking Part B since he could establish that FEHB was primary until such time as I do retire.

If you do decide to drop him from your FEHB plan, you could add him back when you retire. Pre-existing conditions would not be an issue. However, Medicare Part B does not provide any RX coverage. Therefore, you would need to evaluate that issue if his disability is one for which he needs a lot of prescriptions.
Kivi
edalder  
#4 Posted : Saturday, August 15, 2009 9:11:33 AM(UTC)

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You could add him back during open season.

Retirement is not, per se, a qualifying event for making FEHB changes.
Kivi
dcec  
#5 Posted : Sunday, August 16, 2009 9:56:41 PM(UTC)

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I was in the same situation for about a year prior to my retirement. My spouses doctors filed both the BCBS and Medicare claims. Although we had to pay the co-pay and deductible up front, we received from Medicare reimbursement for almost 100%. For us it was worth it because our deductibles were more than the Medicare B premium but for most folks it would be more economical to wait to enroll in Part B. Whatever your spouse does, he should keep Part A, it does not cost anything. You need to check the rules about dropping him from your FEHB very carefully before you consider that option. In my opinion, dropping FEHB is not a good option and while you see a lot of discussion about not ever enrolling in part B, even after retired, I have yet to see discussion about dropping FEHB once eligible for Medicare.
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