Why should I buy Medicare in addition to my federal govt. health insurance if I am fully covered under Blue Cross Blue Shield when I retire? I live a very healthy lifestyle and have inherited excellent genes!
By Hyundai from Washington, DC
I was in the same situation you describe: full paid BCBS, good health, good longevity genes, healthy lifestyle. When I reached 65 last year, Medicare became mandatory for me, with BCBS as my secondary insurance. If you are on Social Security, you will not have a choice. If you are not on it, I do not know if you have a choice or not.
Medicare is not mandatory. For most people, it is advisable. Medicare Part A (which covers 80 percent of most hospital costs) is free if you sign up for it. Plan B (which covers 80 percent of most doctor charges and some tests) is voluntary and costs a monthly premium (presently $97.40 a month for most of those on Medicare) deducted from your Social
Security benefit. When I retired from my company I was covered under the company plan until I turned 65. After 65 the company no longer would cover me so I had to go to medicare but they carry me on blue cross as a supplement plan. Maybe, in the future your federal ins.
I also live a healthy life style and take very good care of my self but was totally shocked when I developed cancer. So one never knows.
Medicare with either a supplement plan or a medicare advantage plan can provide excellent and cheaper coverage than BCBS. These plans can also provide dental, prescription, & vision coverage. Since they're competitive, they offer lower or no deductibles. Also, if you join a plan that you're unhappy with, you're only locked into the plan until the next annual enrollment period.
I was told by bcbs that they can cancel you if you don't take medicare as a first insurer when you are eligible. (they usually don't but I was told they could.) Ask BCBS if this is still true. I was asking for my parents who are both retired federal government employees.
I was told to my parents should take the minimum medicare plan in their early retirement and grow the coverage as they age. That is to sign up for Medicare Plan A and grow to include Medicare Plan B as they age, or when it became necessary.
This was a few years ago, make sure that you can still sign up for Plan A and then grow your plan to include Plan B.
I became Medicare eligible due to disability six years ago. Thinking it unnecessary because - in spite of the incident that left me permanently visually impaired - I was essentially healthy, I initially opted out. Imagine my shock when, only a year or two later, I saw the necessity of opting back in and learned I'd owe an additional 10% of the basic premium. That was my penalty for my short-sightedness (pardon the pun.)
While that $97 a month for basic Medicare Part B doesn't seem like much, it can mean the difference for many of us between living in reasonable comfort and barely scraping by.
If you're absolutely certain (and have it in writing) that your current health insurance will cover your medical costs for the rest of your life, by all means opt out. Relieve the strain on the Medicare budget. And don't forget to count your blessings that your job took such good care of you into your "golden years!" Otherwise, I beieve you'd be wise to retain your Part B coverage and let any other insurance you have act as a supplement, what the insurance-savvy would call your Medicare Part C.
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