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:

“Do I have to enroll in Medicare Part A? Is there a penalty for failure to enroll when I decide to finally do?”

Kevin’s response:

If you or a spouse has worked for at least 10 years, Medicare Part A will be premium free. There is no advantage of delaying enrollment for premium free Part A.

Many FEHB plans will waive their in-patient hospital costs when Part A is primary. Also, being enrolled in at least Part A will qualify you to enroll in Part D prescription drug plans.

If you don’t have enough work credits to qualify for premium free Part A, you’ll have to buy Part A if you decide to enroll. If you don’t buy it when you’re first eligible to enroll, your monthly premium may go up 10%. Also, you’ll have to pay the penalty for twice the number of years you could have had Part A but didn’t sign up. For example, if you miss 2 years you’ll have to pay the higher premium for 4 years.

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.

In Other News
Load More