Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Topic Author
bayview
Posts: 1867
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by bayview » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:01 am

[Split into a new thread from: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B? --admin LadyGeek]

Bumping this thread to ask/verify:

Are Aetna Direct and BCBS Basic still the two plans that let you pay part of your MC-B premiums via the special accounts?
  • We are now both retired and 65+
  • We have chosen to go with both MC-B and FEHB for several reasons, not the least of which is to have flexibility in case of future changes in either program
  • We aren’t subject to IRMAA
  • We are nowhere near Kaiser providers (geographically) and do not expect to move
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

mbres60
Posts: 972
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:47 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by mbres60 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:13 am

We have Aetna Direct and it works great.

retiredjg
Posts: 38447
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by retiredjg » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:19 am

bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:01 am
Are Aetna Direct and BCBS Basic still the two plans that let you pay part of your MC-B premiums via the special accounts?
You really should check the open season website in case things have changed.

BCBS Basic did for 2019 and 2018. I'm going to check for 2020 before open season is over. Edited to add...it went up to $800!

I also think there might be others.
Last edited by retiredjg on Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

UpperNwGuy
Posts: 2648
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:24 am

a) do both FEHB and Medicare part B

This is what I do, and I'm very pleased with the cost and coverage.

Tdubs
Posts: 858
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:50 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by Tdubs » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:27 am

retiredjg wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:19 am
bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:01 am
Are Aetna Direct and BCBS Basic still the two plans that let you pay part of your MC-B premiums via the special accounts?
You really should check the open season website in case things have changed.

BCBS Basic did for 2019 and 2018. I'm going to check for 2020 before open season is over. Edited to add...it went up to $800!

I also think there might be others.
Does anyone have experience with United Choice Plus Advanced (Retiree Adv.) as far as quality? Checkbook rates it as the best buy by a mile especially for max OOP largely due to the Medicare rebate.

Topic Author
bayview
Posts: 1867
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by bayview » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:29 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:19 am
bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:01 am
Are Aetna Direct and BCBS Basic still the two plans that let you pay part of your MC-B premiums via the special accounts?
You really should check the open season website in case things have changed.

BCBS Basic did for 2019 and 2018. I'm going to check for 2020 before open season is over. Edited to add...it went up to $800!

I also think there might be others.
Oh, I have! (checked the site)

I rely on fellow BHers to spot things I miss though. :D
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

Topic Author
bayview
Posts: 1867
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by bayview » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:32 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:24 am
a) do both FEHB and Medicare part B

This is what I do, and I'm very pleased with the cost and coverage.
Which FEHB plan do you use to combine?

I had BCBS Basic for years as an employee and was content. Now that they’ve increased the $$$ that can be used for MC-B premiums, they’re making it easier for me to stay.

I just want to make sure that I’m not missing something even better.

Edit to add: oh, I’m sorry, you’re replying to the OP.

I’ll message the mods to see if they want to split my posts off.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

Topic Author
bayview
Posts: 1867
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by bayview » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:34 pm

mbres60 wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:13 am
We have Aetna Direct and it works great.
Thanks!
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

UpperNwGuy
Posts: 2648
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:15 pm

bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:32 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:24 am
a) do both FEHB and Medicare part B

This is what I do, and I'm very pleased with the cost and coverage.
Which FEHB plan do you use to combine?
I use Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Option. This is the same plan I had before my Medicare coverage began.

User avatar
theduke
Posts: 616
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:31 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by theduke » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:39 pm

I have BCBS Basic with medicare A & B and very happy with it.

retiredjg
Posts: 38447
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by retiredjg » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:54 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:15 pm
bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:32 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:24 am
a) do both FEHB and Medicare part B

This is what I do, and I'm very pleased with the cost and coverage.
Which FEHB plan do you use to combine?
I use Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Option. This is the same plan I had before my Medicare coverage began.
I found that Standard did not offer me anything more than Basic once on Medicare, so I switched. You might want to check closely.

UpperNwGuy
Posts: 2648
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:07 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:54 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:15 pm
bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:32 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:24 am
a) do both FEHB and Medicare part B

This is what I do, and I'm very pleased with the cost and coverage.
Which FEHB plan do you use to combine?
I use Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Option. This is the same plan I had before my Medicare coverage began.
I found that Standard did not offer me anything more than Basic once on Medicare, so I switched. You might want to check closely.
Basic requires you use a preferred provider.

retiredjg
Posts: 38447
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by retiredjg » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:21 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:07 pm
retiredjg wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:54 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:15 pm
bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:32 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:24 am
a) do both FEHB and Medicare part B

This is what I do, and I'm very pleased with the cost and coverage.
Which FEHB plan do you use to combine?
I use Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Option. This is the same plan I had before my Medicare coverage began.
I found that Standard did not offer me anything more than Basic once on Medicare, so I switched. You might want to check closely.
Basic requires you use a preferred provider.
The way I understand that, the requirement to use a preferred provider goes away when Medicare becomes your primary coverage. If you are still working and Medicare is your secondary insurer, I guess that would be an issue.

When Medicare becomes primary, you just need to use providers that accept Medicare assignment/payment...whatever it is. "Preferred" is no longer an issue. That's what I understand anyway.

My experience is that I pay $0 a year for care/service. I do pay Rx co-pays. I've been on this plan (Medicare as primary and Basic as secondary) for 2 or maybe 3 years so far and I've been very happy with it.

Topic Author
bayview
Posts: 1867
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by bayview » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:37 pm

I’m going to keep digging, and investigating Aetna more closely, but I have to say that keeping BCBS as a new retiree sure looks simple. Sort of a lazy Fed retiree insurance portfolio.

If nothing else, my providers have said that they plan to stay with it next year, and sometimes that (providers on plan) winds up being the biggest factor.

I’m a little surprised that these are still the only plans featuring the option to pay for much of the MC-B premiums, as I think that’s a very attractive feature. Maybe we’ll see more in the future.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

mhlambert
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:31 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by mhlambert » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:23 pm

I have BCBS Basic and do not pay for Medicare B.

The premiums saved ($1,735.20 in 2020) more than cover my out of pocket expenses.

Also note that you get some benefit from Med B even without paying for it. From one of my BCBS EOBs:
UNDER FEHB LAW (5 U.S.C. 8904(B)), WHEN SERVICES ARE PROVIDED BY A MEDICARE
PARTICIPATING PROVIDER, WE ARE REQUIRED TO BASE OUR PAYMENT ON THE MEDICARE
FEE SCHEDULE AMOUNT OR THE PROVIDER'S CHARGE, WHICHEVER IS LESS. THIS LAW
APPLIES TO SERVICES PROVIDED TO FEDERAL RETIREES AND ANNUITANTS WHO ARE AGE
65 OR OLDER AND WHO ARE NOT ENROLLED IN MEDICARE PART B. YOU ARE NOT
RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY AMOUNTS FOR COVERED SERVICES OVER THE MEDICARE FEE
SCHEDULE AMOUNT.
I haven't run into a doctor yet who doesn't accept BCBS. (May be different in your area.)
Last edited by mhlambert on Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tj
Posts: 2682
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:10 am

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by tj » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:28 am

bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:01 am
[Split into a new thread from: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B? --admin LadyGeek]

Bumping this thread to ask/verify:

Are Aetna Direct and BCBS Basic still the two plans that let you pay part of your MC-B premiums via the special accounts?
  • We are now both retired and 65+
  • We have chosen to go with both MC-B and FEHB for several reasons, not the least of which is to have flexibility in case of future changes in either program
  • We aren’t subject to IRMAA
  • We are nowhere near Kaiser providers (geographically) and do not expect to move
Negative. GEHA High added this feature for 2020.

tj
Posts: 2682
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:10 am

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by tj » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:29 am

Tdubs wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:27 am
retiredjg wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:19 am
bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:01 am
Are Aetna Direct and BCBS Basic still the two plans that let you pay part of your MC-B premiums via the special accounts?
You really should check the open season website in case things have changed.

BCBS Basic did for 2019 and 2018. I'm going to check for 2020 before open season is over. Edited to add...it went up to $800!

I also think there might be others.
Does anyone have experience with United Choice Plus Advanced (Retiree Adv.) as far as quality? Checkbook rates it as the best buy by a mile especially for max OOP largely due to the Medicare rebate.
What is UHC's medicare rebate?

Yooper16
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:44 am

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by Yooper16 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:08 am

We switched to Direct in May when we both turned 65 and have applied the 900 each rebate to our part B premiums. Have to call every month, but the process is quick and painless. Rest of the processes between Medicare and Direct are invisible and smooth.

A quick review of policies suggest that there are a couple of others with a higher rebate. To lazy to research again for this open season. Maybe next year.

Tdubs
Posts: 858
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:50 pm

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B?

Post by Tdubs » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:36 pm

tj wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:29 am
Tdubs wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:27 am
retiredjg wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:19 am
bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:01 am
Are Aetna Direct and BCBS Basic still the two plans that let you pay part of your MC-B premiums via the special accounts?
You really should check the open season website in case things have changed.

BCBS Basic did for 2019 and 2018. I'm going to check for 2020 before open season is over. Edited to add...it went up to $800!

I also think there might be others.
Does anyone have experience with United Choice Plus Advanced (Retiree Adv.) as far as quality? Checkbook rates it as the best buy by a mile especially for max OOP largely due to the Medicare rebate.
What is UHC's medicare rebate?
$3,250 for a self plus one.

tj
Posts: 2682
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:10 am

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by tj » Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:49 pm

Yooper16 wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:08 am
We switched to Direct in May when we both turned 65 and have applied the 900 each rebate to our part B premiums. Have to call every month, but the process is quick and painless. Rest of the processes between Medicare and Direct are invisible and smooth.

A quick review of policies suggest that there are a couple of others with a higher rebate. To lazy to research again for this open season. Maybe next year.
When doing the research, make sure you check if it waived all of Medicare copays, coinsurance and deductibles, my recollection is that some of the fehb plans only waive some of the categories. Mail handlers cdhp comes to mind.

Yooper16
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:44 am

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by Yooper16 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:24 pm

tj wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:49 pm
Yooper16 wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:08 am
We switched to Direct in May when we both turned 65 and have applied the 900 each rebate to our part B premiums. Have to call every month, but the process is quick and painless. Rest of the processes between Medicare and Direct are invisible and smooth.

A quick review of policies suggest that there are a couple of others with a higher rebate. To lazy to research again for this open season. Maybe next year.
When doing the research, make sure you check if it waived all of Medicare copays, coinsurance and deductibles, my recollection is that some of the fehb plans only waive some of the categories. Mail handlers cdhp comes to mind.
Thanks---- Aetna Direct has no copays-deductible on everything(except RX) that we use(d) and things that I guessed we may use someday. Probably part of the reason I decided not to bother considering another plan switch so soon.

Too many things to do with my retired leisure time than try to squeeze every penny. :beer

tj
Posts: 2682
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:10 am

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by tj » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:27 pm

Yooper16 wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:24 pm
tj wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:49 pm
Yooper16 wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:08 am
We switched to Direct in May when we both turned 65 and have applied the 900 each rebate to our part B premiums. Have to call every month, but the process is quick and painless. Rest of the processes between Medicare and Direct are invisible and smooth.

A quick review of policies suggest that there are a couple of others with a higher rebate. To lazy to research again for this open season. Maybe next year.
When doing the research, make sure you check if it waived all of Medicare copays, coinsurance and deductibles, my recollection is that some of the fehb plans only waive some of the categories. Mail handlers cdhp comes to mind.
Thanks---- Aetna Direct has no copays-deductible on everything(except RX) that we use(d) and things that I guessed we may use someday. Probably part of the reason I decided not to bother considering another plan switch so soon.

Too many things to do with my retired leisure time than try to squeeze every penny. :beer
Aetna Direct was one of the one that waives everything. I don't recall if BCBS Basic or GEHA does or does not.

Topic Author
bayview
Posts: 1867
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by bayview » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:13 pm

tj wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:28 am
bayview wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:01 am
[Split into a new thread from: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B? --admin LadyGeek]

Bumping this thread to ask/verify:

Are Aetna Direct and BCBS Basic still the two plans that let you pay part of your MC-B premiums via the special accounts?
  • We are now both retired and 65+
  • We have chosen to go with both MC-B and FEHB for several reasons, not the least of which is to have flexibility in case of future changes in either program
  • We aren’t subject to IRMAA
  • We are nowhere near Kaiser providers (geographically) and do not expect to move
Negative. GEHA High added this feature for 2020.
Ah, thank you, exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. I’ll review them again.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

Topic Author
bayview
Posts: 1867
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by bayview » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:15 pm

tj wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:49 pm
Yooper16 wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:08 am
We switched to Direct in May when we both turned 65 and have applied the 900 each rebate to our part B premiums. Have to call every month, but the process is quick and painless. Rest of the processes between Medicare and Direct are invisible and smooth.

A quick review of policies suggest that there are a couple of others with a higher rebate. To lazy to research again for this open season. Maybe next year.
When doing the research, make sure you check if it waived all of Medicare copays, coinsurance and deductibles, my recollection is that some of the fehb plans only waive some of the categories. Mail handlers cdhp comes to mind.
Thank you, this is exactly the type of information I was looking for! This angle is very helpful when wading through plan descriptions.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

Yooper16
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:44 am

Re: Feds: FEHB + Medicare Part B [Aetna Direct vs. BCBS Basic]

Post by Yooper16 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:40 pm

I see that I did slightly "mis-speak." Direct does not provide Chiro coverage, so that the only payee for Chiro is part B. We are responsible for the remainder.

Its $8.11 per visit. Think we can handle that.

Post Reply