Postal Retirement Q&A August 2014 – Medicare Part B is a choice, not a requirement

Roseanne is a retired USPS employee with an extensive background in USPS retirement, disability retirement, OWCP, EEO, Labor Relations and HR. She conducts individual and group counseling and is able to comprehensively discuss the pros and cons of employees who are on OWCP, disability retirement and regular retirement. Roseanne will be happy to answer your postal retirement questions.

Let’s begin this month with the Medicare saga….well we did everything that I TELL YOU ALL TO DO… when turning 65 regarding Medicare Part B, and so NOT surprising …. they still are “Encouraging” hubby to take Medicare Part B….in fact, it is SO personal….. to your insurance, that guess what…..they even make a PERSONAL phone call to you, “inquiring” why you have chosen NOT to take Medicare Part B…hmmm, apparently they did not get the “FEDERAL MEMO” (please see this link to the booklet (produced by OPM mind you)) …COPY THIS LINK:

And in this above link validates what I have been saying, that it is a CHOICE if you take Medicare Part B….which is HEALTH insurance!! (FYI you already have health insurance!!)….As a federal employee, when you retire you carry over health insurance and life insurance and of course receive a monthly retirement check. After all these years, isn’t that what we have ALL worked for ??? the fact of “forever” health insurance and life insurance…and if married, a monthly check for the spouse and spouse’s ability to be covered under your federal health benefits…..this is WHY we are ALL HERE all these years….the guarantee of federal benefits!

If you open above link and (READ IT!) you will see what I have been trying to relate to you. Go to page 3 and page 6. So in our Medicare part B saga, they sent hubby a card with Medicare Part A Hospital and Medicare Part B. The card’s instructions tell’s you, if you want Medicare Part A and Part B….do NOTHING…..cut this card out (as this is your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B card)…they will deduct Part B from your Social Security check and you will have Part A and Part B.

If you don’t want Medicare Part B, sign this card on the back, mail it in, they will send you another card validating only Medicare Part A. DONE…CHECK

SO DONE…that he now has the (replacement) Medicare card that states boldly Medicare Part A ONLY. Seems like Roseanne’s plan is working….until the month you turning 65. Plan still working but NOW the push to get you to sign up for Medicare Part B is really AMP’d up. To the point that your insurance company calls (at least our’s did) and interrogates you as to why you didn’t take Medicare Part B, (EXCUSE ME….it’s a choice!!). Then EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE THE CARD THAT SHOWS THAT HE DID SEND them the information of his decision to NOT take Medicare Part B…. POINT: we have in our possession (sent by them) the NEW Medicare card that specifically says ONLY Medicare Part A. So while in a conversation with Social Security Office, they stated they don’t have that information…that they are 3 – 4 months behind on “paperwork” and they ARE still going to reduce his SS check by the amount of Medicare Part B! Needless to say, how could they NOT have received the paperwork, we already have the card that validates he only has Medicare Part A. Wow!! What is going on…and how this even became an issue to have a conversation with SS or anyone about the choice to NOT take Medicare Part B. This happens when your insurance company sees that you are 65 and now begins paying “differently” because of Medicare Part A (becoming your primary hospital insurance). And so when you go to the doctor (after age 65) and have opted OUT of Medicare Part B….your FEHB insurance is going to want a letter from Social Security stated that you opted out. So that is a hassle, BUT DO IT anyway. OK hassle is probably not the best word…..but when done, it’s a triumph.

Why am I telling you this…..because this is what you are going to run into and if you ROLL OVER, and NOT address it then you will wind up paying for Medicare Part B and FEHB, and why should you..!! OPM states, (see above link) that All FEHB plans are as good or better than medicare, I don’t think that even needs to be discussed…as I would rate that statement as DUH !!; additionally that you can NOT BE FORCED into taking Medicare Part B…..but they did not say how MUCH YOU WILL BE ENCOURAGED. I will keep you all informed. I am calling them this morning to continue to see how I can get them on board. UPDATE: Called Social Security back, and spoke to someone else, and explained in EXACTING DETAIL, quoted the above FEHB~Medicare booklet and guess what, this was just 2 days later, (after hubby “stroking out on the phone with a very unhelpful federal employee…with EXTREME attitude”) the 2 day later SS worker said yes indeed, he sees where he “opted out” and then he “offered” to send a letter so that you can send it to your insurance company”, which is precisely what the FEHB insurance is going to want. SO yes, this is a real pain in rear, but now you know….you have NO excuses…because all I ever hear….we were not told anything…I GET IT, everyone is clueless, I KNOW that…but…if you are reading this column you have resources and have had since 2010. I will keep you all informed to IF this letter came and how quickly.

Q&A, more via Postal Retirement Q&A August 2014 by Roseanne Jefferson – PostalMag.

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4 thoughts on “Postal Retirement Q&A August 2014 – Medicare Part B is a choice, not a requirement

  1. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Springfield, MA Area Local 497
    Office held, if any
    President and Retiree

    APWU Web News Article #: 34-2017
    Postal Reform Questions & Answers

    “These questions concerning H.R. 756 were the most frequently asked by APWU members. The answers were produced by APWU National Officers in consultation with attorneys and health plan experts. Check back frequently for the latest developments and additional information.” 

  2. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    Springfield, MA Area Local 497
    Office held, if any
    Past President and Retiree
    Medicare Part B is a choice (right now). It won’t be if a bill, H.R.756 — 115th Congress (2017-2018) Sponsor: Rep. Chaffetz, Jason [R-UT-3] (Introduced 01/31/2017) passes.

    This bill would end the retirement set aside and give the money back to the USPS. All they need is for those employees that don’t have Part B, to be forced into it. The Bill does that. It moves you into Part B automatically. The bill calls for employees who don’t sign up for Part B to lose their FEHBP. So much for “voluntary.”

    There is absolutely no reason for the set aside to be linked to FEHBP. Some think the USPS will use that new found wealth to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. That’s not going to happen!

    USPS is run for big mailers, and they benefit by the lower costs that come as a result of the slimmed down USPS. They have the clout to prevent plants that have been closed from being opened. They benefit as a result of having as many jobs cut as possible.

    I had a couple of posts on this issue a while back. Randy put a good picture of a person being thrown under a bus with the articles. My issue is that I and others are already paying for health insurance. We shouldn’t have to pay for Part B. We’re getting screwed already, as a result of Insurance payments being linked to Medicare.

    With all of the claims about Medicare going bankrupt, they should not be forcing Postal employees into it. The Insurer’s should the pay the freight, Not Medicare!

    Check out the bill. It’s not pretty!

  3. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    NALC - Elmhurst, Illinois Branch
    Office held, if any
    City Carrier
    Thank you so much for this article. If at all possible, could you email me as to if this is still true today. I am concerned that anything may have changed. Thanks.

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