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On Medicare (part A and B) and getting married to a federal employee
Aug 28, 2013

Dear Jacques

I am on permanent disability on Medicare part A, B and D. I have no donut hole assistance due to assets. I am marrying my partner who works for the federal government. He has a good insurance through work with Blue Cross Blue Shield. My question is: should I keep Medicare as a primary or secondary when I get his insurance? How do I determine what's best? Thanks a lot for your help.


Response from Mr. Chambers

Congratulations. There are several areas that need to be addressed.

If your coverage is coming through the ACTIVE employment of you or your spouse, you can drop Parts B and D if you wish. You will be eligible to pick them up again when you lose the employer coverage without late enrollment penalties. NOTE: COBRA is not considered coverage of an active employee so you will need get them back when coverage ends due to employment, not when COBRA ends.

You will, however remain on Medicare Part A. That is because you are not currently paying for it; you paid for Part A through the MedFICA payroll taxes you paid while working.

As far as primary and secondary goes, Medicare sets the rules for that. You do not have a choice. Normally, the health plan is primary to Medicare based on the size of your spouse's employer.

HOWEVER, federal coverage (FEHB) does not always follow the same rules other group plans do. I strongly recommend you check with both FEHB and Medicare. Medicare has a special line for questions about other insurance and Medicare. It is 888-999-1118. Call them to confirm this.

Good luck and best wishes, Jacques


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