Medicare versus FEHB – What I’ve Learned

While this is not meant to be an exhaustive research on Medicare versus FEHB, it will be a page where I can keep notes and links to this topic.

cards-Aces

As a retired Postal employee, I’m in the enviable position of having two basic choices for medical insurance. I can either keep my Postal-  Federal Employees Health Benefit or go with some sort of Medicare plan.

The picture of the poker hand is a not-perfect analogy of my situation. My two aces are the two options I currently have – the FEHB plan and the Medicare plans. If I leave my FEHB plan, I may or may not be able to rejoin the FEHB plan later on. In poker they ask after dealing the cards, “How many do you want.” In this case I would never willing give up either of my Aces. I always prefer to have two aces rather than just one.

It appears to me that both plans are approximately equal. The Medicare Supplemental Plans, also called Medi-Gap, are about the same price that I am currently paying – around $600/month for two people, but their benefits seem to be better at this time.

Another factor in this equation is that no one know what Congress is going to do in the future. The USPS is losing billions of dollars every year and Medicare is under-financed for the new baby-boomers coming into the system. Here’s a quote from A SUMMARY OF THE 2012 ANNUAL REPORTS – Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees “Both Medicare and Social Security cannot sustain projected long-run program costs under currently scheduled financing, and legislative modifications are necessary to avoid disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers.”

What that means to me is that Congress and the President are going to have to act to probably cut benefits and/or increase costs to current and future Medicare and FEHB beneficiaries.

Another problem you may may face is that if you don’t signup for a Medicare Supplemental Plan when you are eligible, around your 65th birthday, the insurance companies don’t have to insure you. They do have to insure you during that Open Enrollment period around your 65th birthday. Your options may be more limited later in life if you have some poor heath issues.

Medicare has 120 Publications!  This is complicated. Luckily you can order some in a print edition. Others are available as a download only. It will take three weeks to get these books so order early. Unfortunately you have to select one book at a time.

If you are interested in Medicare you have three basic choices

  1. Medicare hospital and doctors – very few people have just this. It costs $1200/year/person and has some high deductibles and co-pays. You could end up paying thousands of dollars in expenses.
  2. Medicare Advantage – This is tradition Medicare plus they pick up some of the extra costs you would have. Obviously they charge more than just plain Medicare, but I’ve been told it’s very inexpensive. They are usually an HMO and include Part D drug insurance.
  3. Medicare Supplemental – also called Medigap. You still need to have both Plan A and pay for Plan B . There are many types, but I prefer Plan F. Plan F – seems to be the most expensive, but also covers most of your expenses. Anything that Medicare doesn’t pay for, this insurance will pay. I had a friend who had a $100,000 surgery and she didn’t pay a dime. According to my figures, this plus a drug Plan D coverage would be around $300/person/month.

Drugs
Note – generally, none of the above cover drug costs, you need to add on a Plan D – drug program. Most of these cost around $30 to $40/month. Check this site to compare costs.

Medigap/Supplemental Policy costs:

  • $1200/year for Plan B
  • $1800/year for the Medigap policy
  • $500/year for Plan D

Total cost around $3500/year + your co-pays for drugs.
These prices may go up every year based on your age.

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Conclusion:

I’m going to stay with my FEHB plan for now and see what the government will do in the future. Total costs are similar for both plans with Medicare Supplemental being less expensive when you consider all the co-pays you don’t have to pay.

If you’re looking for a great agent in the St.Louis area try:

Bob Coursault
314-963-1615
bob.coursault@gmail.com

Here are some links which might be helpful

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About Tom Terrific

Interested in MANY things.

Posted on December 1, 2012, in Health. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Aren’t you lucky – only $600 for 2 people. My husband and I are on SS disability and cannot work anymore. I kept my ins. from work at $1375 per mo. for 2 people. Dental is $110 per month. We have co-pays.

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