Blue Cross Retired Federal Employees


The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Planning for Government Retirement

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is the trade association for the independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield member companies.

BCBSA negotiates annually with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to determine the benefits and premiums for the Service Benefit Plan. The 34 local member companies of the BCBSA are the primary points of contact for Service Benefit Plan members. They are responsible for processing claims and providing customer service to our members.

BCBSA corporate headquarters are located at 225 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60601.

Welcome To Bcbs Fep Vision

Welcome to BCBS FEP Vision. Blue Cross Blue Shield is a nationally-known carrier in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program and is proud to offer Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP Vision to federal employees, federal retirees, retired uniformed service members and their families, plus families of active duty service members. Our supplemental vision plans provide comprehensive, worldwide vision coverage, including no copays for vision care exams, a generous frame allowance and discounts on popular lens options.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Made Changes To Its Federal Employee Healthcare Coverage With The Goal Of Reducing Costs For Members

October 07, 2022 – Members of Blue Cross Blue Shields Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program will have lower premiums for dental and vision benefits in 2023, the payer announced.

The changes will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

“This year more than ever, we know everyone is keeping an eye on their health care budget,” William A. Breskin, senior vice president of government programs for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, said in the press release.

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“That’s why we’ve added new benefits and have enhanced our resources to help current and prospective members get the care they need and deserve, including tools that help them find the right coverage plan and help them find the most affordable care and prescriptions.”

FEHB and FEDVIP programs are part of Blue Cross Blue Shields Government-wide Service Benefit Planor the Federal Employee Program . FEHB and FEDVIP both serve federal employees and annuitants. FEHB also serves their family members. FEDVIP additionally serves active-duty family members and certain retired uniformed service members.

FEP members will have access to better prenatal and postpartum care support, including services such as regular blood pressure monitoring. Members can get a blood pressure monitor without out-of-pocket healthcare spending.

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Minimum Annuity Requirements For Fehb Spouse Coverage

When the retiree’s spouse is not a federal employee they will most likely need FEHB coverage in retirement. The rules are different for CSRS and FERS employees and this is a major consideration for federal employees who intend to retire and leave their spouse other than a full survivors annuity.

Under CSRS your spouse will be eligible for FEHB coverage as long as you provide them with a survivors annuity. It can be any amount. In my opinion it is best to provide a survivors annuity large enough to cover FEHB expenses however it isn’t necessary. If you elect a survivors annuity of $3600, enough to cover many plan costs, your annuity will be reduced by 2.5%.

FERS retirees must elect either 50% or 25% survivors annuity for your spouse to be eligible for FEHB coverage in retirement after the annuitant’s death. The 50% election will cost you 10% of your full annuity and the 25% survivor annuity election will cost you 5% of your full annuity in retirement.

A Trusted Provider For 60 Years

Bob Kolodgy

We’ve been committed to providing quality health care coverage to federal employees, retirees and their families since 1960. Its why 99% of our members stay with us year after year.

Its also because we offer the coverage you need most, including:

  • Free preventive care like your annual physical, flu shots, nutritional counseling and cancer screenings
  • Two free virtual visits with Teladoc® so you can get treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, mental health support, dermatology care and more by phone or video
  • Overseas coverage that keeps you protected when working or traveling outside the U.S.
  • Wellness incentives that reward you for taking charge of your health

You also get access to our Preferred provider network that includes more doctors, hospitals and specialists than any other network. And you never need a referral to see a specialist.

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Canceling Coverage In Retirement

If you cancel your FEHB enrollment as an annuitant, you won’t be able to reenroll in the FEHB program. There are no exceptions for other employment insurance. However, there is an exception if you suspend your FEHB enrollment because you are now covered by a Medicare Advantage plan, TRICARE, CHAMPVA, Medicaid or similar State-sponsored medical assistance program, or Peace Corps Volunteer coverage, you can restart your FEHB in the future. Annuitants can call OPM’s Retirement Information Office at 1-888-767-6738 to obtain a suspension form. Callers within the local Washington, DC calling area must call 202-606-0500.

A suspension form must be completed by eligible individuals and must provide all necessary documentation to show eligibility for TRICARE or CHAMPVA during the period beginning 31 days before and ending 31 days after the date they designate as using TRICARE or CHAMPVA instead of FEHB coverage.


Should I Suspend My Fehb Cover To Enroll In Other Coverage

You can suspend your enrollment in FEHB to enroll in Medicare Advantage or other eligible coverage by contacting your agencys retirement system, and providing them documentation that you enrolled. If you do this, youll be allowed to leave your Medicare Advantage plan and return to FEHB. You usually have to wait until Medicares fall open enrollment and FEHBs Open Season to re-enroll in FEHB. You wont have to wait until an enrollment period if your Medicare Advantage plan ends through no fault of your own, or if you move out of the Advantage plans service area. In that case, you could re-enroll between 31 days before and 60 days after your Medicare Advantage plan ends. The FEHB coverage would begin the day after the Advantage plan terminates.

FEHB also allows you to suspend your enrollment if you want to use health coverage through Medicaid, Peace Corps, CHAMPVA, TRICARE, or TRICARE-for-Life. You can re-enroll in FEHB if this other coverage ends through no fault of your own. If you cancel your FEHB coverage instead of suspending it, youll never be able to re-enroll.

Although FEHB coverage can be more generous overall than Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare, having additional coverage may not be helpful if you cant afford its premiums. If you qualify for the Medicare Savings Program or Medicaid, you may find your healthcare costs are lower overall if you dont use FEHB.

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About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 34 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.

Fehb Premium Rate Charts Now Available

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana hires longtime employee as president

October 3, 2022My Federal Retirement

Federal employees and retirees share of 2023 Federal Employees Health Benefits premiums will increase on average by 8.7% according to the Office of Personnel Management.

This is a significantly larger increase than in previous years when the FEHB health care plan premiums went up by 3.8% in 2022, 4.9% in 2021, and 5.6% in 2020.

The governments share of 2023 FEHB premiums will go up by an average of 6.6%. On average, the governments share of the of the total cost of an employees health insurance premiums is 70%. Overall FEHB premiums for non-postal employees and annuitants will increase 7.2% in 2023.

It is important for FEHB enrollees to note that the 8.7% premium increase is an average. Individual federal employees and retirees may pay more or less, depending on the health plan chosen.

Federal Benefits Open Season begins Nov. 14 and runs through Dec. 12, 2022. The annual open season gives federal employees and other eligible individuals the opportunity to review their FEHB and vision/dental plan options, make changes, and enroll for the upcoming benefit year that begins January 1, 2023.

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Fehb Premium Rate Charts From Opm

The charts below from the Office of Personnel Management provide information on biweekly and monthly premiums, including the total premiums, the amount the government pays, and the change in the enrollees portion of the premium compared to last year. All FEHB plans offer Self Only, Self Plus One, and Self and Family enrollment types.

Notice for USPS employees: In 2023, the employer contribution rate for FEHB plans is the same across all Postal labor unions and management associations, except for USPS non-career employees or where specified otherwise in a collective bargaining agreement. FEHB-eligible career USPS employees fall under the same rate category called Premium Rate.

These premiums do not apply to USPS non-career employees, to USPS annuitants, or where specified otherwise in a collective bargaining agreement. If you are a Postal service employee and have questions or require assistance, please contact USPS Human Resources Shared Service Center: 877-477-3273, option 5, Federal Relay Service 800-877-8339.

OPM notes that in some cases, the enrollee share of premiums for the Self Plus One enrollment type will be higher than for the Self and Family enrollment type. Enrollees who wish to cover one eligible family member are free to elect either the Self and Family or Self Plus One enrollment type.

Will I Pay Less For Fehb Premiums If I Enroll In Medicare

FEHB premiums are not reduced if you enroll in Medicare, but having Medicare Part A and B can allow you to switch to a less expensive version of your current FEHB plan, because some FEHB insurers waive cost-sharing when you have Medicare Parts A and B. Contact your FEHB insurer if youre wondering whether your plan waives cost-sharing for people enrolled in Medicare.

The decision of whether to enroll in Part B often hinges on whether you have to pay more for it because of your income. You pay more for Part B in 2022 if you earn over $91,000 , according to your tax return from two years ago. These higher premiums can range from $238.10/month to $578.30/month. Youll have to gauge how much you are willing to pay in Part B premiums in exchange for lower cost-sharing when you visit the doctor.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee Program Expands Benefits While Keeping Rates In Check For Fourth Straight Year

WASHINGTON The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Government-wide Service Benefit Plan, also known as the Federal Employee Program , is enhancing benefits and reducing out-of-pocket costs for federal workers, while keeping rates for 2015 in check.

Premiums for FEPs Standard Option–the most popular choice for federal workers and retireesare increasing by 3 percent. This is the fourth consecutive year that Standard Option premiums have gone up by just 3 percent or less. For the second consecutive year, FEP will offer a full range of comprehensive benefits medical, dental and vision to federal workers while empowering them and their families to live healthier lives.

FEP offers these broad benefits at affordable prices while providing federal workers access to BCBS companies innovative care-delivery programs, which are aimed at rewarding quality care and improving outcomes for patients while reducing costly duplication and waste in care delivery.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association announced FEPs enhanced benefits and competitive rates as Open Season for federal employees to choose 2015 health insurance coverage is set to begin.

Federal workers who choose FEP also have access to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies networks of doctors and hospitals, including more than 96 percent of hospitals and 92 percent of doctors and other medical practitioners nationwide more than any other insurer.

Standard Option and Basic Option Premiums in 2015

Standard Option:

What Happens If I Decline Fehb Coverage

Eric Gilbert â U.S. Retirement &  Benefit Partners

If you decline FEHB coverage, you would give up the subsidy the government pays toward it which is the same for active employees and retirees and can be as high as $530 for self-only coverage, and over $1,300 if youre also covering family members. If your family members are covered under FEHB, their coverage would end if you terminate yours.

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Requirements For Surviving Family Members

For your surviving family members to continue your health benefits enrollment after your death, all of the following requirements must be met:

  • You must have been enrolled for Self and Family or Self + 1 at the time of your death and
  • At least one family member must be entitled to an annuity as your survivor.

All of your survivors who meet the definition of “family member” can continue their health benefits coverage under your enrollment as long as any one of them is entitled to a survivor annuity. If the survivor annuitant is the only eligible family member, the retirement system will automatically change the enrollment to Self Only. Your surviving spouse should follow up with OPM to insure this action was taken. If it wasn’t, your spouse will be paying considerably higher Family Option premiums.

Under FERS, your surviving spouse who is entitled to a basic employee death benefit, or your surviving children whose benefits are offset by Social Security, may continue your health benefits enrollment by paying premiums directly to OPM.

When your surviving spouse will not receive any survivor benefits because your former spouse has a court-ordered entitlement to a survivor annuity, your surviving spouse can continue FEHB coverage if you had a Self and Family enrollment. The retirement system will notify your surviving spouse of his/her options and take whatever actions are requested.

Are Medicare Rules Different If I Have Fehb Coverage

Most people who have retiree coverage must enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B when first eligible. If they dont enroll, their retiree plan may pay only a small amount or nothing at all for their care. Medicares rules for you are different, however, if youre a federal retiree. As a federal retiree, if you dont enroll in Medicare, your FEHB plan will act as your primary insurer and wont pay less because you qualify for Medicare.

However, if you choose to delay your enrollment in Part B , you may find that youre subject to a late enrollment penalty if you eventually decide later on that youd like to enroll in Part B. If you continue working past age 65, you can safely delay Part B while youre still enrolled in FEHB coverage as an active employee. But once you transition to retiree coverage, you have an eight-month window during which you can enroll in Part B at any time without a penalty. But after that window ends, your opportunity to enroll in Part B will be limited to the January-March General Enrollment Period, and you would be subject to a late enrollment penalty for Part B if you delay your enrollment for 12 months or longer.

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If I’m In The Fehb Should I Enroll In Part A

Most people dont have to pay a premium for Part A. When combined with FEHB coverage, having Part A would limit your out-of-pocket costs for the expenses it covers . Having Part A means you cant contribute to a Health Savings Account , so youd want to delay enrolling in Part A if your FEHB coverage is HSA-qualified and you want to continue making contributions to your HSA.

You can only delay Part A until you begin collecting Social Security at which point your Part A coverage will start automatically. The Office of Personnel Management , which administers the FEHB, recommends taking Part A if you dont have to pay a premium.

Should I Enroll In Part B If I Have Fehb Coverage

MPSERS Blue Cross Blue Shield 2020

Deciding whether to enroll in Part B is complicated. And unlike Medicare Part A, all enrollees pay a premium for Medicare Part B . While FEHB plans cover most of the same types of expenses that Medicare covers, FEHB plans coverage may be more limited than Medicare Part B when it comes to orthopedic and prosthetic devices, durable medical equipment, home healthcare, medical supplies, and chiropractic care. Conversely, FEHB plans cover emergency care received outside the United States, and this isnt covered by Original Medicare at all and is rarely covered by Medicare Advantage. FEHB plans may also pay for vision and dental care thats not covered by Original Medicare and is limited in Medicare Advantage.

If you are covered by an FEHB HMO plan, youre normally limited to seeing providers who are part of your plan. Having Part B means you can go outside the HMOs network and see other providers, as long as they accept Medicare.

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Should Federal Retirees Enroll In Medicare

January 17, 2019Edward A. Zurndorfer, Certified Financial Planner

Federal employees have numerous questions as they plan for their retirement from federal service. One of the most often-asked questions is whether a federal retiree, a CSRS or a FERS annuitant, should enroll in Medicare when he or she becomes first eligible.

This question is difficult to answer for many federal annuitants. The reason for this difficulty is that most federal employees are eligible to keep their Federal Employees Health Benefits health insurance benefits throughout retirement and the federal government continues to pay on average 72 to 75 percent of the FEHB premiums, identical to what the federal government pays on their behalf for their health insurance premiums when they are employees.

The question therefore becomes: Why does a federal annuitant need to enroll in Medicare when they have full insurance coverage under the FEHB program? This column will attempt to answer this question and will also answer other frequently asked questions, namely:

  • When should federal retirees enroll in Medicare and in which parts of Medicare?
  • Is there a late enrollment penalty for Medicare and when does the penalty apply?
  • Which is primary coverage FEHB or Medicare?

It is important to first review the different parts to Medicare. There are four parts to Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.

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