“I am a retired federal employee turning 65 in September and will be going on Medicare part A and B. I would like to know the pros and cons of suspending my FEHB and getting a Medicare Advantage Plan. If I stay with FEHB and Medicare I will be paying $149 a month for FEHB and $164 a month for Medicare. At this time a have little or no health problems and take no prescription medication. If I do suspend FEHB, how difficult is it to reinstate and is there a time limit for the suspension?
Yes, you may suspend your FEHB coverage in favor of a Medicare Advantage Plan. To do that, you’ll have to complete a Health Benefit Cancellation/Suspension Confirmation form, available at https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/ri79-9.pdfand send it to OPM. If you later want to go back to FEHB coverage, you can do that during any Open Season.
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Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, 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.