If you are a retired federal worker, or the survivor of a retiree there is a very good chance you are in the wrong (as in not the best deal for you) health plan. And if you are in the “wrong” plan, the person to blame is the man or woman you have slept everyday of your life with. That would be: You!
The wrong health plan doesn’t mean a bad health plan. All of the federal health plans are good. What may be “wrong” about them is that their premiums may be too high, or their coverage not quit what you need and could have. If you are prepared to put in a little work.
Most of the people who need low-cost but comprehensive coverage sleepwalk through each and every health insurance open season. They are federal or postal retirees, or their survivors.
Each year, while many active duty feds are comparing plans and benefits, the vast majority of retirees do nothing. They stick with the same plan they’ve been in for years. Many seldom changed plans while working and most never changed plans since retiring.
Many retirees are eligible for Medicare A (hospitals) automatically. Most have questions about Medicare Part B (doctors) which can be relatively expensive.
For lots of retired feds, there is just one plan. Blue Cross-Blue Shield. And it’s great. One of the best. But ask the retiree what option they are in (standard or basic) and some go blank. Or don’t know the difference. But there is a big difference starting with premiums. The self-only premium next year for retirees (or young healthy workers) in the BC-BS standard plan will be $2,600 for the year. And that’s after the government has paid more than 70 percent of the total premium. The BC-BS basic option, by contrast, will cost retirees (and workers) $1,780 next year.
Is the more expensive plan better for retirees? And are there others that are equally good, but have lower premiums? That’s one of the issues we’ll deal with today on our Your Turn radio show. David Snell, director of Retirement Benefits at NARFE, is the guest. He’ll go through the pros and cons of different health plans, the question of Medicare Part B and other items of interest to both retirees and working feds. The show airs at 10 a.m. EST here on Federal News Radio (click the LISTEN button), and on 1500 AM in the Washington area. You can also listen later, anytime, by going to the Your Turn archives page. Listen if you can. And tell a friend.
Lots of people could save lots of money (without sacrificing quality or coverage) if they pick a better-fit health plan for themselves for next year. Remember the open season ends Dec. 14.
Nearly Useless Factoid
By Michael O’Connell
J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, was one of the seven people that Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott wrote to in the final hours of his life during his ill-fated return journey from the South Pole. Scott asked Barrie to take care of his wife and son. Barrie was so touched by the request that he carried the letter with him the rest of his life.