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.

The question and response have been edited for clarity and confidentiality.

A Fed Times reader asks:

“Can you use your FEHB plan with traditional Medicare, or do have to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan?”

Kevin’s response:

Yes, you can use Original Medicare (Parts A & B) with your FEHB plan, you’re not limited to just Medicare Advantage plans.Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient hospital, is premium free for most if you paid at least 10 years of Medicare taxes while you were working.

Medicare Part B, which covers doctor services, requires paying a premium. The Part B premium for 2024 is $174.70/month. Based on your income, you may be subject to an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Individual tax filers with annual income above $103,000 and joint tax filers with annual income above $206,000 are subject to IRMAA. In the first income tier, IRMAA adds an additional $69.90/month to the cost of Part B.

When you have Original Medicare and FEHB coverage, Medicare becomes primary and your FEHB plan is secondary. Some, but not all, FEHB plans will waive the deductible and out-of-pocket costs for doctor visits and outpatient services when you have Medicare. And, there are a couple of FEHB plans that offer a partial Part B premium reimbursement. To maximize having Medicare, you’ll want to find an FEHB plan that eliminates out-of-pocket costs when you have Medicare.

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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