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Aetna Federal
Retirement Planning Checklist

Planning for retirement can be hard

So, we’ve created a retirement checklist. We’re here to help you on your journey and provide guidance as you make your way into retirement.

And if you need live help, we’re here to chat – contact us now

New tools

Aetna Federal Retiree Savings Calculator

Our newest tool provides a customized financial estimate of your future health insurance costs. This tool will offer a cost estimate of your Aetna Medicare Advantage plan savings.

See your savings now

Planning for the future

It’s important to start planning for retirement. And once you turn 65, you’ll be eligible for Original Medicare. You’ll have exciting new options which are designed just for federal retirees. So, maximize your benefits by choosing a plan that works best with Medicare.

Let’s look at some things to consider when planning:

The 5 Year Rule

As a federal employee, you can continue you FEHB coverage when you retire if you meet these two eligibility requirements:

  1. You must retire on an immediate annuity (an annuity that begins to accrue no later than one month after the date of your final separation).
  2. You have been continuously enrolled (or covered as a family member) in any FEHB plan for the five years of service immediately before your retirement date. Or for the full period(s) of service since your first chance to sign up (if less than 5 years)
Check the OPM website for all the details on requirements.

Preparing for future medical costs

Since health expenses may increase as we age, it’s important to be aware of coverage options and possible out-of-pocket costs.

Fortunately, there are two Aetna federal plans designed for retirees, the Aetna Medicare℠ Plan (PPO) with extended service area (ESA), (also known as Aetna Medicare Advantage) or The Aetna Direct℠ Plan. These plans provide extra benefits and cost savings when you’re enrolled in Original Medicare. The goal is to provide minimum out-of-pocket costs and maximum coverage as you enjoy retirement.

Living on a fixed income

Living on a fixed income in retirement requires planning. Managing your finances, including your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), can help provide you with peace of mind. It’s important to be mindful of your retirement savings and your expenses, both planned and unplanned.

Understand your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP):
  • Withdrawal guidelines
  • Answers to frequently asked questions

Understanding Medicare

Prepare for your future health coverage with Medicare. Visit to plan ahead for:
  • Eligibility time frame
  • Expected premium costs

Becoming eligible for Medicare

Get to know Medicare and how it relates to you FEHB Plan.

What is Medicare?

Medicare may seem like a lot to figure out. Especially if you are covered by an FEHB plan. But think of it this way, just like your FEHB plan, Original Medicare provides health insurance coverage. So why would you want both?

Through FEHB, Aetna offers two nationwide plans designed for federal retirees. When they’re combined with Medicare, these plans offer $0 copays for medical expenses and $0 deductibles to provide you with predictable costs.

So, let’s close the loop on Medicare with a brief description of its parts. Keep in mind, this describes Medicare without your FEHB plan:

Your first chance to sign up

Generally, when you turn 65*

This is called your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). It lasts for 7 months, starting 3 months before you turn 65, and ending 3 months after the month you turn 65. For more information on how to enroll visit

*Exceptions apply if born on the first of the month or qualify for special enrollment.

Medicare Enrollment:
  • Visit Social Security website for more information and to enroll
  • Call Social Security: 1-800-772-1213. (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)

Working beyond 65

If you are still working after you turn 65, you do not need to enroll in Medicare yet. You will receive a Special Election Period (SEP) when you retire that lasts 8 months. For help with your Medicare enrollment options, start with a visit to the Medicare website.

Visit the Medicare website to see the right course of action when signing up for Medicare.

Important note

Becoming eligible for Medicare provides a federal retiree with a one-time opportunity to switch FEHB health plans. If you never used this option to switch plans when you became eligible, it’s not too late. There’s no time limit to this.

Enroll in Medicare with your FEHB plan?

Enrolling in Medicare Part B is optional. It’s entirely your decision. However, here are some things to consider.

Current and future health needs:
  • Consider the health care needs of you and your spouse. While there’s a lot we can’t predict, healthcare costs tend to increase with age. Medicare Part B will help cover some of the costs.
  • Be aware of your family history. Many conditions can be inherited (for example, cancer, heart disease and diabetes).
  • Prepare — even in good health, accidents and health concerns occur. Medicare Part B can help you maintain your financial security.

Can paying for Medicare Part B save you money?
  • Are your out-of-pocket medical costs (copays, coinsurance, deductibles) more than the cost of Medicare Part B ($1,978.80/yearly)?
  • Does your FEHB plan waive copays and coinsurance when you have Medicare Part B?
  • Does your FEHB plan provide a Medicare Part B Premium credit or reimbursement?
  • Check the potential medical costs health example for a high-level breakdown of a health scenario.

Plans that work with Medicare

Aetna Medicare Advantage when your provider accepts Medicare:
  • $0 deductibles, copays, and coinsurance for medical
  • Up to a $1,200 reduction in Part B premiums for eligible member
  • Provides added programs like SilverSneakers® and Healthy Home Visits
Aetna Direct when Original Medicare is primary, and your provider accepts Medicare:
  • Waived deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance
  • $900 yearly fund that can help pay prescription costs or Medicare Part B premiums

Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty

Part B has a late enrollment penalty. It increases your monthly premium by 10% for every 12-month period you don’t enroll after you are initially eligible.


Your Initial Election Period ended September 30, 2017. You waited to sign up for Part B until the General Enrollment Period in March 2020. Your Part B premium penalty is 20%. (You waited a total of 30 months to sign up, and it included 2 full 12-month periods.) You’ll have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Part B.

The Aetna Federal Retiree plans are designed for retirees with Original Medicare. They offer low out-of-pocket costs and Medicare Part B reimbursements. Visit to see how enrolling in Medicare enhances these plans for you.


Potential medical costs

As health care needs increase, the coverage you have makes a difference in the costs you pay. Let’s take a look at some possible scenarios to help you make the best decisions on your health plan coverage.

Retiree health scenario examples

In this PDF guide we'll take a look at 3 Federal retirees*: John, Linda and Mary. Each chose a different FEHB plan in retirement. We’ll review how each retiree fared when using their health benefits in a variety of scenarios and see how their choices affected their annual out-of-pocket expenses.

*These are fictitious examples using actual FEHB rates and benefits.

Does it matter which health plan you choose when you retire?

Download our Retiree Health Scenario Examples (PDF)

Retiree Savings Calculator

Our newest tool, the Retiree Savings Calculator provides a customized financial estimate of your future care costs. Enter your current premium and prescription drugs and this tool will show a cost estimate of your Aetna Medicare Advantage plan savings.

Live help / how to enroll

You have successfully navigated through the Aetna Federal Retirement Planning Checklist. There’s a lot of information and you may have questions. Chat with an Aetna federal team member now!

Schedule a one-on-one | Register for a webinar

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Aetna is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Aetna group of subsidiary companies, including Aetna Life Insurance Company and its affiliates (Aetna).

Aetna Medicare is an HMO, PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal. Plan features and availability may vary by service area.

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Information is believed to be accurate as of the production date; however, it is subject to change. For more information about Aetna plans, refer to

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