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Posted on Friday, 3rd December 2021 by

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I’ve written a number of articles over the years on conservative investment strategies and often mentioned just how attractive I Savings Bonds are. A great overall investment; anyone purchasing I bonds between last November though next April will earn an astonishing 7.12% on their investment the first 6 months they own them. The rate changes every 6 months thereafter. I’ve purchased I Bonds since their inception in 1999 and started purchasing EE Bonds monthly through payroll deduction back in 1973.

The last article I wrote on this subject, “Earn 3.54% with Series I Savings Bonds – Tax Deferred Income” earlier this year shows how to buy them, how they accrue interest, and their many advantages. When I wrote the article in May they were paying 3.54%, still a great rate considering my current savings account bank statement shows interest earned of just .05%! An I bond that I purchased in November of 1999, a $200 bond, is now worth $687 today and yielding 10.6%! The early I Bonds had a 3% fixed rate plus the inflation rate.

The government is ripping off those on fixed incomes, or for that matter anyone with a savings account. They are artificially keeping interest rates low to service the huge national debt this country has accrued over the years, though all administrations.

Explore this lucrative investment opportunity. You don’t hear much about savings bonds these days because the Treasury unfortunately stopped issuing paper bonds years ago. You have to purchase them online through Treasury Direct or you can elect to have a paper bond issued instead of receiving cash for your federal income tax refund. Individual can purchase up to $10,000 a year online and an additional $5,000 paper bond with your federal income tax refund. It’s easy to sign up and invest in Savings Bonds or for that matter any of the Treasury’s Notes, Bills and Bonds.

EE Bonds are currently yielding just .10%.  Regardless of the current E Bond rate, at 20 years the E Bond will be worth twice what you paid for it. The Treasury makes a one-time adjustment to the E Bond’s face value. This provides approximately a 3% yield if held for 20 years. A $500 EE Bond that I purchased for $250 in November of 2000, just over 20 years ago, is now worth $535. Still a good deal for those looking for long term gains. After 30 years they stop earning interest and you should cash them in. The earnings are tax deferred; when cashed in you will have to pay taxes on the interest.

 

 

This is an ideal time to start investing in I Savings Bonds. You can use your RMD distribution to purchase up to $10,000 this year before the end of the month and then next month purchase an additional $10,000. Invest whatever you can afford; it is also a good way to move cash from low interest savings accounts and CDs to an inflation indexed investment that is guaranteed by the full faith of the U.S. Government.

You can track the current interest rate, earnings and total value of all of your Savings Bonds with their Savings Bond Calculator.  Savings bonds can’t be cashed in during the first year of ownership, they can be redeemed after 12 months. if you redeem an I bond within the first 5 years, you’ll lose your last 3 months interest. For example, if you redeem an I bond after 18 months, you’ll receive the first 15 months of interest. Review the previous article I wrote on this subject for additional details.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in ANNUITIES / ELIGIBILITY, BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, LIFESTYLE / TRAVEL, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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Posted on Saturday, 27th November 2021 by

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“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.” Prescription drug copays under Aetna’s Medicare Plans remain the same regardless of whether or not you enter the Part D prescription drug gap. This includes all three of their plans: Self Only (Z24), Self + 1 (Z26), Self and Family (Z25).

I talked to a number of Aetna customer service reps while researching my previous article about Aetna’s Medicare Advantage plans. I received conflicting information on how drugs were reimbursed in this plan. Their pharmacy specialist assured me that the Gap coverage I outlined in the original article was correct! I was referred to the Medicare site for clarification and the information I relayed reflected that guidance.

Susan Allgood, Aetna’s relationship manager for federal plans stated, “the member continues to pay the same co-payment through the entire year.” She referenced Aetna’s Medicare Plan Summary of Benefits and I excerpted the following coverage gap clarification from this document.

Coverage Gap

The Coverage Gap starts once covered Medicare prescription drug expenses have reached the Initial Coverage Limit. Here’s your cost-sharing for covered Part D drugs after the Initial Coverage Limit and until you reach $6,550 in prescription drug expenses:

Your former employer/union/trust provides additional coverage during the Coverage Gap stage for covered drugs. This means that you will generally continue to pay the same amount for covered drugs throughout the Coverage Gap stage of the plan as you paid in the Initial Coverage stage. Coinsurance-based cost-sharing is applied against the overall cost of the drug, prior to the application of any discounts or benefits.

Most insurers have numerous Medicare Part C Plans and many of those plans, not associated with the FEHB, are subject to the Medicare prescription drug Gap. If you are considering a Medicare Part C plan that isn’t associated with the FEHB program, be aware that the prescription drug gap rules outlined in my original article may apply.

Fortunately, Tammy Flanagan forwarded Susan Allgood’s message to me yesterday. Tammy is an exceptional federal benefits consultant and I consider her a good friend. The original article, posted on our blog, has been updated to reflect these changes.

There was also some concern expressed about the increased premiums for higher earner members. The section in the original article about Part D increased costs for higher earners is correct as stated.  According to page 98 of the Aetna Plan Brochure, “You may also see an additional charge if you qualify for the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). It is an extra amount that you pay for your monthly Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premiums and your monthly Medicare Part B premiums. Social Security makes this determination based on your income.”

According to Medicare, “If your income is above a certain limit ($91,000 if you file individually or $182,000 if you’re married and file jointly), you’ll pay an extra amount in addition to your plan premium (sometimes called “Part D-IRMAA”). You’ll also have to pay this extra amount if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes drug coverage. This doesn’t affect everyone, so most people won’t have to pay an extra amount.”

Overall, Aetna Medicare plan costs are reasonable; with the competitive prescription copays, low premiums, and Part B reimbursements it appears to be a viable option for many. If you are considering one of the FEHB MA plans confirm that your doctors and medical facilities accept the MA plan of interest. Higher income earners will have to weigh the increased cost of part D premiums and other factors to see if this plan makes sense for them.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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Posted on Saturday, 20th November 2021 by

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Updated 11/27/2021

My recent article titled “GEHA Standard to BCBS Basic Plan Comparison – 2022” stated that Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Medicare Advantage (MA) plans could possibly save you even more.

These plans were introduced as new options in the FEHB program over the past several year. Many federal employees and annuitants are curious about how they work, are they truly less costly, provide comparable benefits, and provide a viable option for what so many of us have been enrolled in for years?

I was pleasantly surprised with some reservations after several days of research and spending hours on the phone with the Aetna customer service representatives. I focused on the Aetna Medicare Advantage Z26 plan that offers national coverage and incidentally had the lowest premium cost for self + one enrollments among national plans offering this option. This plan’s monthly premium is $275 for their Self + One option and they reimburse your Medicare Part B monthly premium by $75 per enrollee.  Your Social Security check actually increases $75 a month!  Some plans reimburse even more of your Part B premiums.

Please Forward This Article to Others
That are Considering Medicare Advantage Plans.

The Basics

You can get your Medicare benefits through Original Medicare (parts A and B), or a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C). If you have Original Medicare, the government becomes your primary health care provider and pays for most medical costs when you get hospital or physician services covered by Medicare. Your FEHB plan becomes your secondary provider and pays most of what Medicare doesn’t.

Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans,” are offered by private companies approved by Medicare. Medicare pays these companies to cover your Medicare benefits. Most importantly, MA plans provide a catastrophic expense protection, unlike traditional Medicare. In return for their additional benefits, most of these plans use preferred provider networks and only pay 100% of your medical expenses if you use one of these providers. But as discussed below, the Aetna Medicare Advantage MA plan contains no such limitation.

Most Medicare Advantage Plans also include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). In many of these plans you pay nothing in addition to your Part B premium to get catastrophic expense protection, prescription drug benefits, and even more. In some of these plans, you pay a small additional premium, usually no more than the equivalent of a month or so of the Part B premium, to get these additional benefits. You usually pay one monthly premium for the plan’s medical and prescription drug coverage. This is how this Aetna plan covers prescriptions, more on this later.  For clarification, most federal annuitants aren’t enrolled in Medicare Part D drug coverage, and you don’t have to enroll in Part D to participate in these MA plans. The plans cover this.

To convert to one of the MA plans offered within the FEHB program you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B and a FEHB Plan that offers a Medicare Advantage option. In my case I could change my enrollment this open season to the Aetna Advantage Z26 Plan and shortly after, typically three days later, call Aetna to register for their Medicare Advantage option. The reason for the three-day delay is that it takes time for OPM to compile plan changes and post them.

Another revelation, Aetna doesn’t charge a fee for its FEHB MA option! You simply pay the $275 monthly premium for their Z26 plan! It costs nothing to convert. Aetna will initially issue you an Aetna Advantage card and shortly after completing their two-step enrollment, you will receive an Aetna Medicare Advantage Part C card. You must use the Medicare Part C card when visiting the doctor’s office. Keep your original Medicare card handy encase you switch back to Traditional Medicare at an upcoming open season or if you trigger a Qualifying Life Event that warrants a plan change. During open season you can move back to a FEHB plan or possibly elect to enroll in another more cost effective FEHB sponsored MA plan.

Caution

Don’t confuse the new FEHB MA options with private sector Medicare Supplement and MA plans being sold on TV ads and through the mail. If you decide to enroll in a private sector MA plan, one outside of our FEHB program, you should suspend your FEHB plan. If you cancel your FEHB plan, you can’t return to the FEHB program. With the FEHB MA offerings you MUST KEEP your FEHB plan; during the next open season, you can change to any of the FEHB plans available in your area if desired. If you sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan you can’t suspend your FEHB plan, you can only cancel your coverage! Read the following article on this subject if you are considering a Medicare Supplement plan:

FEHB Plans Offering MA Plans

Three of the FEHB’s Medicare Advantage plans are available nationally for all federal retirees with Medicare Parts A and B: Aetna Advantage, APWU High, and MHBP Standard MA plans. Many other MA plans from carriers including: UnitedHealthcare, Kaiser, and Humana are available in various parts of the country. For example, in the Washington DC area there are nine additional FEHB MA plans offered. (There are also two plans open nationally but only to annuitants with a prior work history in intelligence agencies or as rural carriers.)

How the Aetna Advantage MA Plan Works

Federal Retirees with Medicare continue paying Part B premiums with this plan. The coverage is the same as Traditional Medicare but includes additional benefits such as $0 deductibles and prescription benefits. There are other programs available to help members maintain and improve their health including fitness membership, hearing aid reimbursement of up to $2,500, and more. One of the major benefits is the reimbursement of $75/month (up to $900/year) of your Medicare Part B premiums with the Aetna plan. For a Self + One or Family enrollment, if both of the spouses are enrolled in Medicare A and B, they each receive $900 a year towards Part B premiums. This is slightly less than half of the Part B premium for 2022 ($170.10 a month or about $2,040 for the year).

Aetna MA Benefits

Certain procedures require pre-certification.
They are marked with an asterisk in their brochure.

It was somewhat confusing reading the plan brochure and differentiating between their Aetna Advantage Plan and the Aetna Medicare Advantage Plan. Their Medicare Advantage plan is summarized in Section 9 of the plan brochure; review Aetna’s Medicare Plan Summary of Benefits Pamphlet and visit their online Medicare and You Guide for additional guidance.

It is my understanding, though not stated clearly in the brochure, that all the FEHB benefits of the FEHB-only Aetna Advantage plan (or MA plans of other carriers) remain in force. This means, for example, that a married annuitant with Parts A and B could enroll in Aetna Advantage’s MA plan, while his or her younger spouse without Medicare would get regular FEHB benefits provided by the Aetna Advantage plan.

Prescription Drugs 

I checked all of the prescriptions that my wife and I use and they are not only covered by this plan but the copays are significantly lower for my asthma medications and others. For example, I just paid a $200 copay for Advair through GEHA, the Aetna plan copay would have been $40! A huge savings. Their copays are quite reasonable except for Tier 5 specialty drugs (high-cost/unique generic and brand drugs) where the copay is 25%, but not more than $350. This is true even when you reach Medicare’s Initial Coverage Limit (ICL) of $4,430.

The Coverage Gap starts once covered Medicare (Part D) prescription drug expenses have reached the Initial Coverage Limit. However, according to Aetna’s Medicare Plan Summary, “Your former employer/union/trust provides additional coverage during the Coverage Gap stage for covered drugs. This means that you will generally continue to pay the same amount for covered drugs throughout the Coverage Gap stage of the plan as you paid in the Initial Coverage stage. Coinsurance-based cost-sharing is applied against the overall cost of the drug, prior to the application of any discounts or benefits.”

Those enrolled in an FEHB MA plan are not impacted by the Medicare Gap and ICL. Your prescription drug copays will remain the same throughout the year regardless of any costs.

The following Gap discussion is included here as reference for those who are considering purchasing a Medicare Advantage plan that is not affiliated with a FEHB plan. Prescription drug copays may increase when in the GAP for those individuals.

For those in plans where the employer, union or trusts doesn’t pick up the additional costs while in the gap, the coverage gap begins after you and your drug plan have spent $4,430 on covered drugs in 2022. The total cost of each prescription, which includes the member copay and what the provider paid for the drug, is used to determine when your reach the ICL limit! Once you reach the coverage gap, you’ll pay no more than 25% of the cost for your plan’s covered brand-name prescription drugs until catastrophic drug coverage starts at $7,050. You’ll pay this discounted rate if you buy your prescriptions at a pharmacy or order them through the mail.

Although you’ll pay no more than 25% of the price for the brand-name drug while in the gap, almost the full price of the drug will count as out-of-pocket costs to help you get out of the coverage gap. What you pay and what the manufacturer pays (95% of the cost of the drug) will count toward your out-out-pocket spending. What the drug plan pays toward the drug cost (5% of the cost) and dispensing fee (75% of the fee) aren’t counted toward your out-of-pocket spending.

Medicare will pay 75% of the price for generic drugs during the coverage gap. You’ll pay the remaining 25% of the price. The coverage for generic drugs works differently from the discount for brand-name drugs. For generic drugs, only the amount you pay will count toward getting you out of the coverage gap.

Part B & D – Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA) Payments 

This doesn’t affect everyone, so most people won’t have to pay an extra amount. If you have Part B and you have a higher income, you may also have to pay an extra amount for your Part B premium, even if you don’t have drug coverage. This is a nationwide Medicare requirement, not specifically related to the Aetna Advantage or any other MA plan.

Higher income retirees are also required to pay income adjusted Part D premiums. According to Medicare, you have to pay this extra amount if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes drug coverage and your total income exceeds $91,000 for those filing an individual tax return or $182,000 for those filing a joint return. The extra Part B Premiums range from $12.40 to as high as $77.90 monthly based on 5 income brackets.  Couples that are both on Medicare each pay this amount. Therefore, a couple’s overall Medicare cost will increase from $24.80 to $155,80 monthly! The income limits for the Part B premiums are identical to those for Part B. Something to be concerned about for sure.

Social Security will contact you if you have to pay Part B or D IRMAA, based on your income. The amount you pay can change each year. The extra amounts you have to pay aren’t part of your plan premium. You don’t pay the extra amounts to your plan. Most people have the extra amounts taken from their Social Security check. If the amount isn’t taken from your check, you’ll get a bill from Medicare or the Railroad Retirement Board. You must pay this amount to keep your Part B & D coverage. You’ll also have to pay both extra amounts if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes drug coverage.

What Plans are Available in My Area?

To determine which plans are available in your area use the FEHB comparison tools or visit the plan websites listed in their brochures. Each of the comparison tools and company websites prompt you to enter your zip code and all offerings will show up and include national plans, HMOs, MA Options, and everything in between.

  • The OPM’s Plan Comparison Tool includes much of the information you would need to make an informed decision with some limitations.
  • the Consumers’ Checkbook 2022 Guide to Health calculates total healthcare cost for each plan option including your FEHB premium, your regular or income adjusted Medicare premium, any Part B reimbursements available, and likely cost-sharing, in addition to healthcare costs, it also calculates FEDVIP costs. This Guide is available in print and online formats and our site visitors can save 20% by entering promo code FEDRETIRE at checkout.

Find Aetna Advantage Medicare Health Care Professionals & Facilities in Your Area

Use their provider search service to determine if your medical providers are in their network. It is a little confusing to navigate. All of the doctors and the medical facilities we use are in their network. As a member of the Aetna Medicare Plan (PPO) with an Extended Service Area (ESA), you can receive services from any provider that is eligible to receive Medicare payment and is willing to treat you. This plan covers both in and out of network providers. (Not all FEHB MA plans cover out of network providers and this is a big plus for the Aetna plan.)

Enrollment Process for the Aetna Medicare Advantage Plans

You can see any provider that is licensed to receive Medicare payments. Selecting the Aetna Medicare Advantage plan does not change your FEHB premium or enrollment code. Retirees with Medicare Parts A and B may elect to join the Aetna Medicare Advantage plan by following the two-step enrollment process.

NOTE: You must complete this two-step process to avoid high deductibles required for the Aetna Advantage plan. This action changes your enrollment from their traditional FEHB offering to a Medicare Advantage Part C option.

Step 1:

Enroll as you normally would through the OPM Retirement website https://retireefehb.opm.gov/ or you can call 1-888-767-6738 (TTY: 1-800-878-5707).

Enroll using enrollment code Z24 for Self Only, Z26 for Self + 1, or Z25 for Family.

Step 2:

Provide Aetna with your Medicare information. Once you are enrolled through the OPM site, your basic information will be transferred to Aetna. (Please allow 7–10 business days.)

In addition, they will need the following to complete your enrollment in Aetna Medicare Advantage:

Your original Medicare effective date for Parts A & B

Your Medicare Beneficiary ID

You may go to www.aetnaretireehealth.com/FEHBP or call us at 1-866-241-0262 and give them this information. If you are over age 65, they will send you a reminder postcard.

For more information call Aetna Retiree Solutions at 1-866-241-0262 (TTY:711) or connect live with their team at www.aetnafedslive.com.

Summary

Overall, Aetna Medicare plan costs are reasonable; with the competitive prescription copays, low premiums, and Part B reimbursements it appears to be a viable option for many. If you are considering one of the FEHB MA plans confirm that your doctors and medical facilities accept the MA plan of interest. Higher income earners will have to weigh the increased cost of part D premiums and other factors to see if this plan makes sense for them.

Another low cost FEHB option is the Aetna Direct Plan N63. It isn’t a Medicare Advantage plan and includes an $1800 Medicare reimbursement. The reimbursement is handled differently, instead of your Social Security check increasing, you apply for reimbursement and they send you a check.

For those still working in federal service take advantage of the Flexible Spending Accounts offered under the FSAFEDS program during this open season or consider switching to one of the High Deductible plans with Health Savings Accounts for far larger tax savings, plus lifetime investment returns. You can save pre-tax dollars and spend them on health care, child care, dental, vision, and other expenses.

Aetna Contact and General Information

You have several options:

Editing Credits: I was fortunate to have Walton Francis, an expert in analysis and evaluation of public programs including Medicare and the Medicare Advantage program, review and edit this article. Francis along with Kevin Moss are associated with the Center for the Study of Services (CSS), a nonprofit organization, and the publisher of Consumers’ Checkbook and the Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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Posted on Friday, 19th November 2021 by

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Transitory inflation is a myth that is unsustainable. Yes, the COLA this year was 5.9%; since it was announced, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported prices climbed 6.2% year-over-year, the largest increase since November 1990. Everything we buy or the services we use with few exceptions are increasing at an alarming rate. Medicare premiums were announced last Friday and are increasing 14.5%; the largest dollar increase in Medicare’s history! The Social Security wage base for taxes is increasing approximately 3% for 2022 and wage earners must pay taxes on incomes up to $147, 000 a year up from $142,800 in 2021.

Government reports claim that wages increased, sometimes dramatically, over the past year or so. However, real wages are actually down over 2% when you factor in inflation! Many mixed messages across the board.

I was disappointed to hear of the Medicare increase when you consider that the average Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) premiums increased only 2.4% for 2022. A 14.5% increase is huge and wipes out much of the COLA increase for those on fixed incomes. I highlighted the increase in red on the following chart.

Couples earning less than $182,000 a year will pay $4,082.40 ($170.10 each per month times 12) a year for Part B coverage while a couple in the highest income group pays $13,879.20 a year for the same Medicare Part B Coverage! Most people pay the standard Part B premium amount.

2022 Medicare Part B Premiums

Part B premiums are determined annually from income statistics that the IRS provides to Medicare. If your 2020 Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is above a certain amount as indicated above, you will pay a higher Part B premium.  Review tax returns to determine what your adjusted gross income was and then add in any tax-free interest you earned to determine (MAGI) and what your monthly premium will be.

Modified Adjusted Gross Income includes capital gains, taxable interest, tax-exempt interest, dividends, annuity income, wages, business income, and IRA distributions.  When you start drawing from your THRIFT account, take a one-time lump sum withdrawal, cash in stocks or bonds that have appreciated in value, or convert to a ROTH you may end up with a higher part B premium payment the following year.

Those in the lowest income bracket may end up with a Medicare Part B premium increase the following year when taking a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your TSP and other retirement accounts, realize capital gains from taxable accounts or cash in those long held Savings Bonds that many federal employees accumulated over the year.

For those still working take advantage of the Flexible Spending Accounts offered under the FSAFEDS program. You can save pre-tax dollars and spend them on health care, child care, dental, vision and other expenses. Review Shawn McCoys 2022 FSA article that provides guidance for this open season selections.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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Posted on Thursday, 18th November 2021 by

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With the Federal Open Season this is a great time to review a benefit that is not widely used by Federal employees, the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS).

The first question most Feder employees ask is “What is the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS)?”

FSAFEDS allows federal employees to save money for health care expenses with a Health Care or Limited Expense Health Care FSA. Think of it as a savings account that helps you pay for items that typically aren’t covered by your FEHB Plan, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, or other health insurance coverage. Things like deductibles, out of pocket expenses, and other expenses that may not be cover by the medical coverage (FEHB) and Dental or Vision (FEDVIP)

FSAFEDS also offers an account for families with young children or elder care expenses – the Dependent Care FSA. This account allows you to set aside money to pay for your day care expenses.

Eligible employees can enroll in FSAFEDS each year during the FEHB Open Season, November 8th to December 13th, 2021. Contribute are made directly from bi-weekly pay on a pre-tax basis into the FSA. New and newly eligible employees who wish to enroll in this program must do so within 60 days after they become eligible, but before October 1 of the calendar year. Retirees are not eligible to participate in the FSA program.

The next question is “How does it work?”

There are three different Flexible Spending Accounts plans available:

Health Care FSA (HCFSA)

With a Health Care FSA, you use pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified out-of-pocket Health Care expenses. The money you contribute to a Health Care FSA is not subject to payroll taxes, so you end up paying less in taxes and taking home more of your paycheck.

  • Used to pay for eligible medical, dental, and vision care expenses not covered by the plans
    • Co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles
    • Professional services: physical therapy, chiropractor, and acupuncture
    • Prescription drugs, insulin, and prescribed over-the-counter medicine
    • Over-the-counter health care items: bandages, pregnancy test kits,
      blood pressure monitors, etc.
  • Can contribute up to a maximum of $2,750 per individual employee (2022)
  • Access the full amount of your account on day one of the plan year
  • Can carry over up to $550 from one plan year to the next (You must sign up for a least $100 to be deducted for the next plan year)
  • Can be reimbursed by check or direct deposit into checking or savings account

Limited Expense Health Care FSA (LEX HCFSA)

If you’re enrolled in an HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan and have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you can increase your savings with a Limited Expense Health Care FSA (LEX HCFSA). This pre-tax benefit account helps you save on eligible out-of-pocket dental and vision care expenses while taking advantage of the long-term savings power of an HSA.

  • Can contribute up to a maximum of $2,750 (2022)
  • Used to pay for eligible dental, and vision care expenses not covered by the plans
  • Co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles
  • Vision exams, LASIK surgery, contact lenses, and eyeglasses
  • Dental cleanings, X-rays, fillings, crowns, and orthodontia
  • Access the full amount of your account on day one of the plan year
  • Can carry over up to $550 from one plan year to the next (You must sign up for a least $100 to be deducted for the next plan year)
  • Can be reimbursed by check or direct deposit into checking or savings account

Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA)

A Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) is a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for eligible dependent care services, such as preschool, summer day camp, before or after school programs, and child or adult daycare. It’s a smart, simple way to save money while taking care of your loved ones so that you can continue to work.

  • With a Dependent Care FSA, you use pre-tax dollars to pay qualified out-of-pocket dependent care expenses.
    • Care for your child who is under age 13
      • Before and after school care
      • Babysitting and nanny expenses
      • Daycare, nursery school, and preschool
      • Summer day camp
    • Care for your spouse or a relative who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care and lives in your home
  • Can contribute to up to a maximum of:
    • $2,500 per year if you are married and file a separate tax return (2022)
    • $5,000 per year if you are married and file a joint tax return or if you file as single or head of household. Both cannot claim $5,000 (2022)
  • When the account has the funds, you can use your balance to pay for eligible expenses
  • Can only use the funds that are available in the account, not the entire election amount
  • Funds must be used by March 15th, 2022 or lose it and claims must be submitted by April 30, 2022

As a rule, you can’t change your Health Care FSA (HCFSA), Limited Expense Health Care FSA (LEX HCFSA), or Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) election amount during a benefit period (the plan year). That’s why it’s important to plan an election that suits your needs for your entire benefit period. But there are circumstances – called qualifying life events (QLEs) – when you can make changes.

The final question is “How do I calculate how much to contribute to the FSA?”

This question can be a tricky because it depends on the individual, the family, FEHB plan selected and the Dental or Vison plan selected. The amount can vary based on other factors such as the plan copayments, deductibles, out of pocket expenses, prescription drugs and planned medical or dental procedures.

A good starting point is to look at your 2 years of uncovered expenses. You can obtain that information from your FEHB and dental and vision insurance plan providers by looking at your Explanation of Benefits (EOBs).  These can be obtained go going on the carrier’s website or contacting the carrier directly. Add up the two years’ worth uncovered expenses and subtract out any extraordinary expenses, i.e. broken foot. Then divide by 2. After you get that figure add in any planned expense for procedures you may have for the upcoming year, i.e. Lasik surgery. If you are unsure, you can always just contribute $550 for the first year. And since you can carry over up to $550 remaining in either your HCFSA or LEX HCFSA account from one plan year to the next (must re-enroll each year), there’s no reason not to take advantage of the tax savings this year and every year.

For more details on eligible expenses or to enroll in the plan go to the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) website at www.fsafeds.com.

If you would like more information on how to optimize use of all your FERS benefits, check out Public Employees Benefits Advocates (PEBA), a self-paced, online course.

  1. Shawn McCoy is the President and Founder of Federal Employee Benefits Advocates, LLC (FEBA) an educational and training company located in Shreveport, LA. Mr. McCoy is an expert on Federal employee benefits and has spoken to more than30,000 Federal employees over the last 12 years. For more details about the training programs offered by FEBA check their website. www.febadvocates.com

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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Posted on Saturday, 13th November 2021 by

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This summary compares the 2022 GEHA Standard and Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Basic plans. There are many other plans to consider. I used these two nationwide providers because BCBS has the most subscribers and GEHA has one of the lowest premiums for their standard plan.

Many annuitants change to a lower cost FEHB plan when they sign up for Medicare A and B because most plans waive the majority of the deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance when Medicare becomes your primary insurer. Medicare pays first and then your FEHB plan pays a portion if not all of the remaining bill for you.

This time of the year those 65 or older receive many offers from private insurers for Medicare Supplement Plans. When you sign up for a private insurer’s Medicare Supplement Plan your only option is to cancel your FEHB plan, you can’t suspend coverage. I wrote two articles, CAUTION – Don’t Lose Your FEHB Coverage and FEHB Suspensions that discuss the severe consequences a number of our readers suffered by doing so. The suspension article provides a detailed list of things you must know before making this move. Many private sector Medicare Supplement Plan brokers don’t understand the FEHB program and end up selling you a product that doesn’t provide the comprehensive coverage you now have. If you know of anyone considering leaving the FEHB program forward this article to them.

Each plan publishes a guide for Medicare enrollees. Here are links to BCBS and GEHA’s Medicare Brochures:

Costs

BCBS Basic limits deductibles, copayment, and coinsurance waivers for Medicare enrollees to in network providers while GEHA Standard includes waivers for both in and out of network providers plus they pay doctor visit copayments. Here is where it does get complicated. When you are enrolled in Medicare you can go to any provider. Just be aware that some plans, like BCBS Standard plans, may not waive deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance fees for out of network providers and that can be expensive. Check Section 9 of your FEHB plan brochure to verify coverage.

Medicare Part B Premiums add to your monthly healthcare costs which for 2021 are as low as $148.50 to as high as $504.00 due to Medicare’s Part B income adjusted premiums. The estimated 2022 Part B premiums are anticipated to increase to a low of $158.50 to as high as $538.90 per month.

To qualify for the lowest Part B premium in 2021 those filing an individual tax return must have a Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) of $87,000 or less and married couples $174,000 or less.  Gross Income (GI) is calculated before MAGI. Gross Income (GI) is total income earned through wages, dividends, interests, royalty and rental, business income, capital gains, and others. MAGI is calculated by adding back certain deductions such as tax-free municipal bond and student loan interest, tuition, rental loss and IRA contributions to name a few.

Total monthly health care premiums for those on Medicare and enrolled in the Self Plus One plans featured in this article are listed below:

BCBS Basic ($424.95), an increase of $15.08 from last year. GEHA Standard remained the same at ($291.92).

Medicare Part B ($148.50) currently for 2021 for those without an income adjustment.

For a Self Plus One enrollment, the total cost for coverage would be $424.95 for BCBS, $148.50 times 2 or $297.00 for Medicare. Here is what you would pay monthly for your FEHB plan assuming both signed up for Medicare Parts A & B and the couple is earning less than $174,000 a year:

BCBS – $424.87 + $297 = $721.87 monthly, $8,662.44 / year)

GEHA – $291.92 + $297 = 588.92 monthly, $7,067.04/ year)

If BCBS Basic members apply for and each receive a $800 Medicare Reimbursement for a Self Plus One enrollment, their adjusted annual costs would be reduced to $7,062.44 in the above example. That’s $1600 a year for a Self Plus One enrollment when both have Medicare. To obtain the reimbursement you must provide proof that you paid Medicare premiums in 2022 by submitting a Medicare Reimbursement claim. Claims are submitted online by registering for a Medicare Reimbursement Account at fepblue.org/mra or through the EZ Receipts app. You can also mail or fax in a claim form. GEHA provides a $800 per member reimbursement only for their high option plan.

Another viable low-cost option is to consider Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. Aetna, Kaiser, and UnitedHealthcare offer special Medicare Advantage plans for retirees. Some of these plans reimburse almost the entire Medicare Part B premium and waive all doctor and hospital expenses. By doing so, some of these plans have the lowest estimated yearly cost for retirees. In order to join one of the new MA plans, retirees must sign up for the regular version of the FEHB plan, be signed up for both Medicare Parts A and B, and then sign up for the MA plan with their carrier.

2022 Plan Changes

For a complete list of changes for both plans review section 2 of each brochure.

Observation

Many federal annuitants are hesitant to sign up for Medicare Part B due to the additional cost and what appears to be duplicate coverage. I personally know a number of retirees that are paying large copayments and coinsurance fees because they didn’t sign up for Medicare Part B at age 65.

If you review coinsurance and copayment costs within your current FEHB plan you can see where the costs could be prohibitive for major medical problems. For example, in the GEHA Standard Plan those who don’t have Part B would have to pay a $15 copayment for a PPO primary care physician visit; a $30 copayment to see a specialist for covered office visits and 15% of other covered professional services including X-ray and lab.  If the service is provided by a non-PPO, the member has to pay 35% of covered professional services. With Part B these fees are waived.

Summary

My wife and I enrolled in GEHA basic to reduce cost when we applied for Medicare. Plus, we travel, and require coverage for in and out-of-network providers. Prior to signing up for Medicare, we were enrolled in the BCBS Standard plan because they have no annual deductibles and overall costs were lower. Even though the BCBS basic plan doesn’t cover out-of-network providers, 96% of hospitals, 95% of doctors and 57,000 retail pharmacies are in their network.

Over the past 18 months, providers billed us in excess of $150,000 for services rendered, we paid nothing for the three operations, doctor’s visits, and required tests. I use hearing aids and the GEHA Basic plan offers $2,500 towards the purchase of hearing aids every three years, BCBS Standards has the same reimbursement for hearing aids but limits them to once every five years. With Medicare A & B, GEHA benefits are the same whether or not your provider is in their network.

Those who use high-cost prescription drugs should ensure their medications are on their plan’s formulary list.

There is more to your selection than meets the eye. Take your time this open season to thoroughly review your options and costs. Use the following plan comparison tools to obtain a comprehensive analysis for plans of interest.

Plan Comparison Tools

OPM’s Plan Comparison Tool includes much of the information you would need to make an informed decision with some limitations. The Consumers’ Checkbook 2022 Guide to Health Plans is more comprehensive and provides additional costing information for low, average and high levels of health care usage. The Checkbook guide does all of these complex costing calculations for you on line and provides side-by-side evaluations with ratings for each plan. It calculates total healthcare cost including your income adjusted Medicare premium, any Part B reimbursements available, and FEDVIP costs.

The Consumers’ Checkbook Guide is available in print and online formats. Federal Retirement readers can order their Guidetohealthplans.org and save 20% by entering promo code FEDRETIRE at checkout. The Guide was released November 9th. Print books are mailed as early as the week prior to the start of Open Season.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION, UNCATEGORIZED

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Posted on Friday, 5th November 2021 by

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Open season runs from November 8th through December 13th.  There are tools available to evaluate provider options, select your 2022 plan, and submit changes to OPM. Use the following resources to make an informed decision for you and your family’s health care needs.

Forward this article to others that can use this “Open Season” information.

FEHB Open Season

Obtain Copies of Plan Guides

Active Employees

  • Request hard copies of desired plan brochures through your benefits coordinator. If you don’t know who that is talk with your supervisor.
  • Download plan brochures from the OPM website.
  • Request copies direct from plan providers. I typically request and receive brochures direct from GEHA and Blue Cross Blue Shield weeks before they are available on the OPM site.

Annuitants (Retirees)

  • Sign up for FEHB Open Season Online – This site is devoted to federal annuitants. Request plan brochures to be mailed to your home address or you can download brochures to your computer. You must register in early November of each year to use this site and annuitants can change enrollments online.
  • Download plan brochures from the OPM website.
  • Request copies direct from plan providers.

Determine Plan Costs – 2022 FEHB Plan Rates (All rates are now posted online).

Compare Plans – Use OPM’s FEHB Plan Comparison Tool and Consumers’ Checkbook 2022 Guide to Health Plans to find the best FEHB plan for your needs. The Consumers’ Checkbook Guide is available in print and online formats. Federal Retirement readers can pre-ordered their guide at Guidetohealthplans.org and save 20% by entering promo code FEDRETIRE at checkout. The Guide will be released online no later than the first day of Open Season November 8th. Print books will be mailed the week prior to the start of Open Season.

Checkbook’s Guide to FEHB Health Plans helps active and retired federal employees find the best FEHB plan for themselves and their families. By answering a few questions, you’ll see a personalized total cost estimate for each plan, which is the premium plus expected out-of-pocket costs for someone like you, and you’ll understand which plans save you the most money or provide the most coverage.

For retirees, the Checkbook 2022 Guide shows a yearly cost estimate for every FEHB plan with Medicare Part A only and a separate estimate for the FEHB plans with Medicare parts A and B. This allows users to see which plans coordinate best with Medicare, the cost reduction of adding Medicare Part B, and whether the FEHB plan offers Medicare Part B premium rebates.

Use these two excellent tools to drill down to and find the best plan for your personal situation. Compare costs and benefits of up to 4 plans side-by-side. These comparison tools are easy to use and will show you the differences between plans with only a few keystrokes. Before making your final enrollment decision, always refer to the individual FEHB brochures. Each plan’s FEHB brochure is the official statement of benefits.

Changing Enrollment

Annuitants (Retirees)

  • Annuitants can change plans online at FEHB Open Season Online. The online service is easy to use and you can track your change submissions.
  • Call Open Season Express 1-800-332-9798. (Available early November of each year)
  • Send regular mail (Postmarked no later than final date of Open Season) to:

Office of Personnel Management
Open Season Processing Center
P.O. Box 5000
Lawrence, KS 66046-0500

When sending requests by mail clearly state your Open Season request. If you are making an enrollment change, be sure to tell OPM the plan you want, the type of coverage (Self Only, Self Plus One or Family), and the enrollment code. You must include your annuity claim number and social security number on your request. If you are choosing Self Plus One or Family coverage, OPM will also need your dependent and other insurance information.

Federal Employees

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)

Dental and vision benefits are available to eligible Federal and Postal employees, retirees, and their eligible family members on an enrollee-pay-all basis. Enrollment takes place during the annual Federal Benefits Open Season in November and December. New and newly eligible employees can enroll within the 60 days after they become eligible.

Register online at www.BENEFEDS.com to review and download plan brochures, use their plan comparison tool, and to initiate a change or cancel enrollment. If you aren’t a registered user sign up now. You will be able to review your Dental, Vision, Long Term Care and Flexible Spending accounts. Enrollees can initiate changes during open season, when there is a life event change, or to cancel coverage at any time.

For enrollment/premium questions regarding dental and vision insurance, contact BENEFEDS at 1(877) 888-3337.

Medicare Impact on FEHB Plans

Review the following articles that describe the impact Medicare has on your FEHB provider payments.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION, WELLNESS / HEALTH

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Posted on Friday, 29th October 2021 by

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There are many things to consider when reviewing your FEHB health care plans during open season.  Plan premiums and benefits change year to year. Without a thorough review and comparison between plans you could unintentionally pass up a better deal.  I know this firsthand, as a federal employee for 36 years and a retiree these past 17 years, it is much easier to simply do nothing and continue on with a plan that may not fully meet your family’s needs.

The only way to avoid this is to review plans of interest to determine if you are receiving the maximum benefit for the lowest cost. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of the selections you have at hand and the sheer volume of reading material available. Don’t let this stop you. There are tools available to streamline your search and do comparisons with a few computer keystrokes.

Please forward this to others that may benefit from this information.

Another consideration today that should spur those over 65 to compare plans is that many now reimburse some of your Part B premiums. This could save annuitants a considerable amount each year. Consumer’s Checkbook “Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees” online format actually does this comparison for you. By answering a few questions, you’ll see a personalized total cost estimate for each plan, which is the premium plus expected out-of-pocket for someone like you, and you’ll understand which plans save you the most money or provide the most coverage.

For retirees, the Guide shows a yearly cost estimate for every FEHB plan with Medicare Part A only and a separate estimate for the FEHB plans with Medicare parts A and B. This allows users to see which plans coordinate best with Medicare, the cost reduction of adding Medicare Part B, and whether the FEHB plan offers Medicare Part B premium rebates.

The Consumer’s Checkbook Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees is available in print and online formats. Federal Retirement readers can pre-order the Guide at GuidetoHealthPlans.org and save 20% by entering promo code FEDRETIRE at checkout. The Guide will be released online no later than the first day of Open Season November 8th. Print books will be mailed shortly after the start of Open Season.

Pre-Order Checkbook’s “Guide to Health Plans”

Here are some important tips to consider as Open Season approaches:

  • Don’t assume your plan is unchanged. The premiums and benefits almost certainly will change. Your doctors may have left the plan. An expensive drug may no longer be on formulary. I ran into this with an asthma drug I take. My plan removed it from their formulary list and I now pay $325 for a prescription that cost just $60 when it was covered. I had negative reactions to the alternative drugs they recommended. Even if you don’t anticipate switching plans, it makes sense to see how your plan has changed every Open Season.
  • Check if there are newer plan choices that might be better buys. There are high deductible plans (HDHP) with health reimbursement arrangements that have good catastrophic coverage and can provide big savings. Remember: Higher premium plans do not always have better benefits. They may simply reflect the expensive enrollees they attract.
  • Retirees need to consider Medicare Advantage (MA). Aetna, Kaiser, and UnitedHealthcare offer special Medicare Advantage plans for retirees. Some of these plans reimburse almost the entire Medicare Part B premium and waive all doctor and hospital expenses. By doing so, some of these plans have the lowest estimated yearly cost for retirees. In order to join one of the new MA plans, retirees must sign up for the regular version of the FEHB plan, be signed up for both Medicare Parts A and B, and then sign up for the MA plan with their carrier.
  • Read the plan brochure. They are long and not fun to go through, but they offer the clearest view of what life is like in a plan. Start by review the section titled “How We Have Changed,” then section 7 “General Exclusions – Things We Don’t Cover.” Retirees should go to Section 9 to see if there are any Medicare coordination changes in their current plan.
  • Review important benefits. If there is a benefit that’s important to you, look up that benefit in the plan brochures to see which one gives you the best deal. Checkbook’s guide does this for you. Make sure to check the plan brochure for that benefit for additional information. Everyone enrolled in a plan should request a brochure each year because it outlines the entire plan and can be consulted throughout the year when a benefit question arises.
  • Consider your dental and vision needs. The standalone FEDVIP plans are good buys for many, but not all. Remember that some FEHB plans offer modest dental and vision benefits that don’t require you to pay a separate premium. Also, some FEHB plans offer dental and vision discount programs as part of their “non-FEHB” benefits. The Checkbook Guide will show you how all your available choices stack up under low, average, or high dental expense years. Hint: If you have low dental expenses, you might be better off in an FEHB plan that offers some dental benefits vs paying a FEDVIP premium. Also, consider that your needs may change year to year. For example, my wife had cataract surgery last year and I knew it was scheduled but neglected to add vison care for her last year to cover the eyeglasses she now requires. I’ll add it this open season.
  • Wellness benefits. Did you know certain FEHB plans reimburse gym membership or pay you to complete an annual health assessment? Some plans have tobacco cessation and weight management programs at no additional cost to the member. There is even a Medicare Advantage plan that has a meal delivery program of up to 84 home-delivered meals following an inpatient hospital stay. These benefits can be found at the back of the FEHB brochure and are often overlooked. The most important of these wellness benefits are now displayed in the online Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees for every FEHB plan. Consider these benefits before enrolling in a plan, especially if you’re having a hard time deciding between two plans.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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