Any Federal Retirees With Medicare Here?

candlerNovember 9, 2010

Howdy. I have Medicare insurance and am a federal retiree. I chose the federal Mail Handlers Benefit Plan(MHBP) ten years ago. Pricewise, it was a decent Medigap insurance. Of course it's gone up every year but 2011 it's going up a whopping 32.38%. That's rediculous. That's $600 out of next years retirement. Sure would have been good for heating. I went on the Net but couldn't find sage advice about alternatives. Very confusing! Are we all up the creek? Has anyone here got it figured out? Thanks, Gene

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I am a federal employee but not yet on Medicare. However my husband is. As a federal retiree your Medicare is the "original" plan. We have always used a HMO plan because it provides medicenes with a reasonable copay. The doctors group that we use takes all kinds of insurance including non-HMO plans. With the medicene covered no need for D coverage. I did switch us from the high option to the low option this year because after insurance and taxes I was left with about $20 a month.

I would suggest that you talk to your doctor's office to find out which of the various insurance programs they accept. You may find that they accept lower cost plans that cover more than Mailhandlers. You should look at medical expenses to see where you spent or used the most money or would have cost you the most without the insurance. Since medication is one of the higher costs make certain you select one that covers with out a high co-pay or deductible.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 8:00PM
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Thanks for sharing your information. I've had Medicare for eleven years. I've always chosen a federal health plan that paid in full whatever difference there might be. I should say except for prescriptions for which I've always had a copay.

For 2011 none of the federal health plan rates have gone up over 32% like Mail Handlers. A few minutes ago I requested ten health plan brochures from OPM. I sure was hoping to find someone who already had studied them. Regards, Gene

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 9:54AM
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I look at them every year but for our needs stick with the HMO plan because my hubby has cardiomyopathy and the after medicare and the HMO the only charges so far are the prescription co-pays. I go to and look at the brochures there. A suggestion is to always ask the doctors offices you go to as to which carrier do they have the least problem with getting claims paid.

The plan I used when up 28% last year which is why I switched to the lower option. You are supposed to pay larger co-pays but because of Medicare we have ended up with less out of pocket.

Since you stated you had Medicare it did not cross my mind until last night that you might be under the old retirement plan and paying for Medicare yourself.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 4:39PM
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DH & I are both fed retirees, but not yet eligible for Medicare.

You might want to post your question on FedSoup's Medicare and Health Care forum. You will have to join to post, but you can read without joining.

Here is a link that might be useful: Medicare and Health Care

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 6:27PM
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Thanks for telling me about the web site. I had to smile because I first went to Fedsoup and it was a newly established retail web site. Then I went to Federalsoup and really did enjoy reading the informative discussions of health plans. Gene

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 9:40AM
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Under the Balance Budget Act of 1997, a person who receives employer retiree healthcare has the option to switch to an individual Medicare Supplement under a 63 guarantee issue period. In most cases, especially Mail Handelers, it will be much cheaper to go on an individual policy. Plan F, Medicare supplement policy provides 100% coverage allowing you to choose any doctor and hospital that you wish. You will need to get a stand alone Part D prescription plan. You can call 1-800- MEDICARE to enroll in a drug plan. This option could save you a few thousand dollars per year.

Hope it helps.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 4:03PM
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Any Federal retiree can switch to a individual policy. The reason so many federal employees stick with the government is that health insurance will be available to them for their life. This does not mean that a federal retiree can afford the plans only that they are available. If a retiree switches to a private plan that guarantee is lost. As a fed retiree, not eligible for medicare, I have seen plans come and go. If you opt out of the federal system you can not return if your insurance company fails or decides to pull out of your state. Personally I would rather not take that chance.

Many of the federal plans pay for prescriptions so you would not need a separate Part D. You have paid for B already and depending on your income this year you only pay $96.00 a month for A. If your plan does not cover scripts you might need a Part D plan.

Jeremy, take a look at the health plans available both nationally and for your state. You might be surprised what they do cover. Of course by now other than dropping health insurance any decisions have already been made. Any changes in government plan would have to be delayed until the next open season in the fall.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 12:12AM
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I'm a federal retiree and I switched to GEHA a couple of years ago. I've been happy with it. I switched because although I was happy with BCBS, it kept going up in price. Some people who live in underserved areas are not happy with GEHA, but I live in a fairly large urban area, so it has worked out well for me. If you use their labs, you will not pay out of pocket for lab work. You might check it out.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 11:08PM
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