The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times reader to columnist Kevin Moss, a senior editor at Consumers’ Checkbook and expert on federal employee health insurance plans for civil servants, retirees and their families.

Editor’s note: The question and response have been edited for clarity and confidentiality.

A Fed Times reader asks:

“I am a CSRS retired annuitant with a current FEHB plan through the Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP. I turn 65 [this year] but my spouse won’t turn 65 until 2025.

Does BCBS FEP offer a Medicare Advantage plan? If not, what would be the best financial option to coincide with my current FEHB plan? How would my wife be covered between [our birthdays]?”

Kevin’s response:

BCBS does not currently offer a Medicare Advantage plan.

When you turn 65, you’ll need to make your Medicare enrollment decision. Medicare Part A, which covers hospital services, is premium free for most if you have worked at least 10 years.

Medicare Part B, which covers doctor services, requires paying a premium. The Part B premium is $174.70/month for 2024.

However, depending on your income, you may be subject to an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount. Individuals filers with income above $103,000 and joint filers with income above $206,000 are subject to IRMAA. In the first income tier, you would pay an additional IRMAA amount of $69.90/month in addition to the Part B premium.

If you decide to enroll in Part B, many FEHB plans will waive the plan deductible and out-of-pocket cost for doctor and outpatient services. Part B also gives you access to more doctors as you can go outside of your FEHB plan provider network and see any doctor that accepts Medicare. You would be subject to the $240 annual Part B deductible and pay 20% of the cost of service if you do so. Some FEHB plans also offer a partial Part B premium reimbursement.

Finally, having Part B gives you the option to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans.Your Medicare decision will have no impact on your spouse. If you decide to enroll in Part B, you would receive the elimination of doctor and outpatient costs if offered by the FEHB plan, and your spouse would continue paying the regular out-of-pocket cost.

Have a question about your FEHB plan or the federal insurance marketplace? Send your query to

Kevin Moss works for Consumers' Checkbook, a nonprofit dedicated to helping consumers make informed decisions. He leads the production of Checkbook's Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees, a decision support tool that helps federal employees and annuitants find the FEHB plan that's the best fit.

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