Concerns Raised on Compelling Retirees to Enroll in Medicare

As both the House and Senate have begun hearings into another possible attempt to shore up the Postal Service’s finances, concerns have been raised about a new attempt to compel postal retirees to enroll in Medicare.

That provision has been in numerous proposals regarding USPS for years, none of which have come close to final approval despite financial troubles largely caused by the shift from standard mail to electronic messaging, offset only partly by growth in package delivery.

Currently, postal and other federal retirees who continue FEHB coverage in retirement—as the large majority do—have the option of enrolling in Medicare when they reach eligibility for that program, typically at age 65. Each program provides some coverage that the other doesn’t, but while the two coordinate coverage with Medicare acting as the first payer and FEHB as a supplement, there is no reduction in the premiums of either for having both.

The requirement to enroll in Medicare would in essence shift some of the cost of postal retiree health care from the FEHB program to that program—for those who have both, Medicare is the first payer—although at the cost to retirees currently with only FEHB coverage of requiring that they pay Part B premiums, currently $135 a month. One measure proposed in the prior Congress would have softened the impact by subsidizing the added cost to retirees, although that would have been phased out over four years.

In a submission to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the NARFE organization said that requiring postal retirees to enroll in Medicare “changes the bargain regarding health benefits for postal retirees after they retired, setting a dangerous precedent for all federal retirees and it imposes a deeply paternalistic government requirement by removing choice for postal retirees with regard to their health insurance coverage, at significant additional cost.”

It said that if such a requirement is imposed, it should apply only to future retirees, not current ones, and that even they should be given an opportunity to opt out.

Source: FEDweek.com

4 thoughts on “Concerns Raised on Compelling Retirees to Enroll in Medicare

  1. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    Philadelphia, PA Area Local Retiree Chapter
    Office held, if any
    Retiree Member/Advocate/Activist
    Email Address
    RZelznick@aol.com

    RE: “Can the APWU please put together a power point presentation giving all the information needed for retirees and future retirees to make an educated decision in regards to Medicare and FEHB?”

    No, APWU will not do that. They will not give you ALL information. They are one-sided on this issue and have made it clear they support postal reform legislation that forces Retirees/Future Retirees to participate in Medicare. Many of us have expressed our concerns on this site and elsewhere that we do NOT want the USPS to try to solve their financial problems on the back of Retirees. President Dimondstein and his administration broke a promise to protect earned benefits of APWU retirees.

    The issue is well covered here in an April 2018 webinar by NARFE (slide show included): NARFE: A Postal Reform Update and Why it Matters for All Federal Retirees

    Here is an April 2019 article by NARFE: NARFE Warns of Perils to Mandatory Medicare Measures as Part of Postal Reform

  2. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Utica NY Local
    Office held, if any
    President
    Email Address
    frederick.ashleyjr@gmail.com
    Your not alone Artie. Can the APWU please put together a power point presentation giving all the information needed for retirees and future retirees to make an educated decision in regards to Medicare and FEHB?

  3. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Local 78 Retiree Chapter
    Office held, if any
    President, Oakland Area Retiree Chapter
    Email Address
    ejons127@gmail.com
    I was told the same lie, up to my 65th birthday I was told do nothing we do it all for those in FEHB. Medicare does not render the same coverage we previously had while working. It is drastically lowered especially what you’re entitled to. A stone joke for APWU FEHB covered employees after retirement and 65th. Welcome to less coverage all the while the premiums are same or more.

  4. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Queens Area Local 1022
    Email Address
    artie512@optonline.net
    Are they saying current retirees, or soon to be retired, who are in FEHB do not have to apply for Medicare if they keep their FEHB coverage? Totally confused. Would appreciate clarification. Thanks

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