Open Enrollment Season Presents a Possible Dilemma for Federal Retirees

Open Enrollment Season Presents a Possible Dilemma for Federal Retirees

Fall brings pumpkin spice lattes, cool nights, the promise of holidays around the corner… and decisions about healthcare. Okay, so that last item doesn’t exactly sound like a fun time, but healthcare is definitely an issue that we all face.

Medicare is currently operating their Annual Election Period, from October 15 to December 7. Enrollment for Federal Employee Health Benefit plans, called Open Season, began on November 13 and will last until December 11. According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Open Season “gives Federal employees and retirees the opportunity to evaluate their benefits, provider networks, and the 2018 rates for Federal benefits, which include FEHB, Federal dental and vision (FEDVIP), as well as elections for Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS) for health care and/or dependent care. Individuals have the chance to make changes to their coverage within the Open Season dates”.

If you’re a retired federal employee, it is possible that both of these enrollment periods are important to you. If you’re a current federal employee, you might want to pay attention to this issue as you plan for retirement.

You enjoy Federal Employee Health Benefits even after you retire. However, you have the opportunity to also enroll in Medicare Part B, the part of Medicare that covers treatment and services related to your health care (such as preventive care, outpatient care, and more).

There are two primary issues to consider here:

  1. Can you afford the Medicare Part B premiums? Currently, rates per person are $134 per month, or $1,608 per year. Rates can sometimes increase from one year to the next.
  2. Is Medicare Part B compatible with your FEHB plan, and to what degree?

That second issue, in particular, is a tricky one to decipher. If you’re a federal retiree and need help analyzing your budget, give us a call. Or, if you’re still planning for your retirement, we can help you consider your future healthcare needs and decide how to accommodate them in your overall retirement income plan.