The Checklist sections
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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:
- 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).
- 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)
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 MedicarePrepare for your future health coverage with Medicare. Visit Medicare.gov 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:
Parts of Medicare:Medicare Part A = Hospital insurance
Covers most in-patient medical expenses like hospital stays and home health care. But there’s a deductible before any hospitalization costs are covered.Medicare Part B = Medical insurance
Covers doctor visits, durable medical equipment, outpatient procedures and lab services. Most people pay a monthly premium and a deductible before Medicare covers services. After your deductible is met, you typically pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor services.Original Medicare = Part A + Part B
Together, both parts provide coverage in and out of the hospital.Medicare Part C = Medicare Advantage
Offered by private insurance companies and approved by Medicare. You must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and Part B before enrolling in Medicare Part C.Medicare Part D = Prescription Drug Plan
Offered by private insurance companies to help pay prescription drug costs. It’s included in some Medicare Advantage plans or can be added to Original Medicare coverage.
Your first chance to sign upGenerally, 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 Medicare.gov.
*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.
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 MedicareAetna 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
- 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 AetnaFeds.com/RetireePlans 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.
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