We encounter many federal employees doubting if they should, or even can, enroll in the Medicare program. Will you lose your Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) if you enroll in Medicare? Do you really need Medicare if you have FEHB? Let us put your mind at ease. Even as a federal employee you are still eligible to enroll in the Medicare program…and we highly recommend that you do! There are still some decisions you need to make, though, because things can get complicated fast.
Medicare BasicsBefore we get to the complex mumbo jumbo, let’s go over the basics of Medicare. For those of you who know the Medicare ABC’s, go ahead and skip to the next section. Let’s start off by asking: when can you get your Medicare coverage? You’re eligible for Medicare coverage when you turn 65. It’s highly recommended that you enroll three months before your birthday so that you can receive that coverage on the month that you turn 65. For those of you who are enrolled in the Social Security Disability program, you are automatically enrolled in the Medicare program and will receive your Medicare cards the month of your birthday. Now that it’s established when you can get Medicare coverage, let’s go over what specific types of Medicare plans are available and what they cover. There are 4 parts of Medicare: Parts A, B, C and D.
- Part A covers hospitalization care.
- Part B covers doctor and outpatient care.
- Part C is the Medicare Advantage Plan and covers the same as parts A and B.
- Part D covers prescription drugs.
Parts A and BParts A and B of Medicare, also known as Original Medicare, is the most common plan among members because it’s available everywhere in the United States. This type of plan can function smoothly with your FEHB because Medicare covers some of the costs that Federal Employee Health Benefits simply can’t. Here are some examples of what Medicare can cover:
- Charges that exceed the plans allowable charges
- Orthopedic and prosthetic devices
- Durable medical equipment
- Home health care
- Limited chiropractic services
- Some medical supplies