New Medicare Advantage and FEHB Cost-Saving Options

There is an additional option previously available through most Kaiser plans and now available in most parts of the country through UnitedHealthcare Choice plans. Under these “Senior Advantage” and “Retiree Advantage” options, you enroll in these carriers’ special Medicare Advantage plan while remaining enrolled in their FEHB plan rather than suspending FEHB enrollment. You nominally pay both premiums but obtain a large Part B premium reimbursement equal to most or all of the cost of the regular Part B premium. In effect, you can enroll in both programs at little or nothing more than the cost of the FEHB premium. You get much-reduced cost-sharing—close to zero cost to you for hospital and doctor services—in the Kaiser Medicare Advantage plans. In the United plans you not only get zero-cost hospital and doctor services using the Retiree Advantage plan, but you can go outside the United network with any Medicare-participating provider. To find out more about these options, these carriers have more information on their websites (www.uhcfeds.com and www.kp.org/feds) and provide phone access to specialized teams of advisors.

You do need to check carefully because not all Kaiser plan options offer reimbursement for Part B premium costs, and not all of United’s plans offer the same high level of Part B reimbursement. It is also essential to talk to plan representatives about your choice and to arrange enrollment in both the FEHB and Medicare Advantage plan. But when all arrangements are complete, you are paying only one full premium and are getting close to zero cost health care.