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Frequently Asked Questions Insurance

Health

  • During the fall of each year, you will receive a copy of the Medicare & You handbook. It is also available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY 1-877-486-2048, or at www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10050.pdf . The Medicare & You handbook has information on Medicare Parts A & B; Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C); Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D); Help for People with Limited Income and Resources; and Joining and Switching Plans. The Medicare website (www.medicare.gov) contains the handbook and other information about Medicare. If you do not have a personal computer, your local library or senior center may be able to help you access this website. You should contact your retirement system before making any change to your coverage, especially if you are considering suspending your FEHB coverage to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you are a CSRS or FERS annuitant, you may call OPM's Retirement Information Office at 1-88USOPMRET (1-888-767-6738) or 202-606-0500 from the metropolitan Washington area, or you may write to:

    Office of Personnel Management
    Retirement Operations Center
    P.O. Box 45
    Boyers, PA 16017-0045

    Other useful publications, such as the Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare, are also available at the Medicare number (1-800-633-4227) or from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counseling office. The SHIP counselors in your state are also available by telephone or sometimes as a walk-in resource if you would like more personalized attention. You can find SHIP counseling office telephone numbers in the Medicare & You handbook or on the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov/contacts/static/allStateContacts.asp.

    Your FEHB plan brochure provides specific information on how its benefits are coordinated with Medicare. Some HMOs participating in the FEHB are structured to provide more comprehensive coverage if you enroll in both their HMO and their Medicare Advantage plan.

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  • To qualify for Spouse Equity coverage, submit an application to your former spouse's Human Resources Office (or, if applicable, the former spouse's retirement system) within 60 days after your divorce. To be eligible, you must have been covered as a family member under your spouse's FEHB Program enrollment at least one day during the 18 months prior to divorce and you must have future entitlement to receive a portion of your spouse's retirement annuity or a survivor annuity. Also, if you remarry prior to age 55 you will lose this coverage. If you do not qualify under the Spouse Equity provisions, you may be eligible for coverage under the Temporary Continuation of Coverage provisions. You may also convert to a private policy.
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  • Each year OPM releases the new health insurance rates about a month prior to the FEHB Open Season. The FEHB Open Season runs from the second Monday in November through the Second Monday in December. The new rates are generally released by mid-October at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/rates/index.asp.

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  • Generally, your coverage continues for 36 months from the date of your divorce or annulment, as long as you pay your premiums on time.

    After your TCC enrollment ends:

    • you get a 31-day extension of coverage, and
    • you may convert to an individual contract offered by your health benefits plan,

    unless you lose coverage because you canceled your enrollment or didn't pay your premiums.

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  • Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) is available to: (1) employees who lose their FEHB Program coverage because they leave their Federal jobs, (2) children who lose their FEHB Program family member status because they reach age 26, and (3) former spouses who lose their FEHB Program family member status because of divorce or annulment. TCC allows former employees to continue their FEHB Program coverage for up to 18 months, and former family members (children and former spouses) to continue FEHB Program coverage for up to 36 months. For more information about TCC, please review the TCC pamphlet at www.opm.gov/insure/health/eligibility/tcc/index.asp.

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  • You are no longer an eligible family member when your divorce or annulment becomes final. You get a 31-day extension of your health benefits plans coverage after that date. You may convert to an individual contract offered by your health benefits plan, if you don't qualify for or don't want FEHB coverage through Spouse Equity or TCC.
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  • Information about the new TRICARE-For-Life program can be obtained by calling 1-888-DOD LIFE (1-888-363-5433) or by going to the TRICARE website at www.tricare.osd.mil.
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  • We have published a final regulation that allows current FEHB annuitants and former spouses who are eligible for these programs to suspend their FEHB coverage and premium payments. The regulation allows these individuals to reenroll in the FEHB Program during the Open Season, or immediately if they are involuntarily disenrolled from the non-FEHB coverage.
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  • The former spouses that the regulation applies to are those of civilian Federal employees and annuitants as defined under the Civil Service Retirement Spouse Equity Act of 1984 (Public Law 98-615). The regulation does not apply to "unremarried former spouses" under TRICARE law (title 10 USC). See also the chapter on former spouses in the FEHB Handbook.
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  • The National Defense Authorization Act for 2001 (Act) extended TRICARE pharmacy coverage to uniformed services Medicare eligible retirees, spouses, and survivors on April 1, 2001. Now uniformed services beneficiaries can get comprehensive prescription drug coverage through TRICARE's retail, mail order, or military treatment facility pharmacies. The Act also reinstated eligibility for TRICARE medical benefits for these beneficiaries on October 1, 2001. Beneficiaries with Medicare Parts A and B are now eligible to use TRICARE coverage for physician, hospital, surgical, and pharmaceutical services.
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