The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. It is answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist since 1995.

Question: I am a retired federal employee who chose not to enroll in Medicare Part B when I retired, so my Federal Employees Health Benefits plan is primary for all of my outpatient services. I am enrolled in Medicare Part A. If I were to be admitted as an inpatient, I understand that my Medicare Part A coverage would be primary. Would my FEHB plan supplement this Medicare Part A coverage for things not covered by Medicare, like my co-pays?  And would my FEHB plan still be primary for the physician fees, e.g., surgeon’s fees, associated with my inpatient stay?

Reg’s Response: Medicare Part A covers hospital insurance-covered services, such as hospital stays, post-hospital skilled nursing facility care, home health care and hospice care. Any costs that Medicare doesn’t fully cover will usually be paid by your FEHB plan.

Medicare Part B covers medical insurance-covered services, such as medical expenses (doctor’s services, outpatient and surgical services and supplies), clinical lab services, home health care and outpatient hospital services. Since you aren’t enrolled in Medicare Part B, those costs would be covered by you and your FEHB plan.

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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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