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:

“I became a Federal Employee under the FERS retirement program in the fall of 2010. I retired from the reserves prior to becoming a federal employee. I am now receiving my retirement benefits from the reserves, which includes Tricare and have suspended my FEHB.

My spouse turns 65 next spring (2025) and I will turn 65 in the fall. I am aware that in order to receive Tricare for Life, one would need to purchase Medicare Part B.

I am wondering if I activate my FEHB, can I waive Medicare Part B and still maintain my Tricare coverage either as Tricare for Life or Tricare Select? I think it would be a cost savings since the FEHB plan (Blue Cross Blue Shield) for my spouse and I would cost less than each of us paying Medicare premiums plus the IRMAA additional premiums.”

Kevin’s response:

In order to qualify for Tricare for Life, you would need to enroll in Medicare Part B. However, retired reserve members at the age of 60 can instead choose to enroll in Tricare Select.

With Tricare Select, your FEHB plan would be primary and Tricare Select would be secondary. You wouldn’t need to enroll in Part B to be covered by an FEHB plan and Tricare Select. This would save you the cost of the Part B premium and having both FEHB and Tricare Select coverage will help you save on out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

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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