MVP Health Care Enrollees -
here's how we see your FEHB options this open season...
Do nothing this open season and OPM will automatically place you in the GEHA Elevate Health Plan.
Select a new FEHB plan for benefit-year 2020 and enroll in it. Click here for FEHBP plan brochures.
If you are retired and enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, find a Medicare Advantage plan to your liking, perhaps even an MVP Medicare Advantage plan, enroll in it, and then "suspend" your FEHBP coverage. Just remember two things, in order to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan you will need to be already enrolled in both Medicare Parts A & B; your chosen Medicare Advantage plan should include prescription drug coverage since your old FEHB plan will no longer be in effect after you "suspend" it.
You cannot "suspend" your FEHBP coverage for enrollment in Original Medicare (Parts A & B), or a Medicare Supplemental (a.k.a. Medigap) plan.
To learn more about the differences between Medicare Advantage vs Medicare Supplemental, click here.
MVP Health Care Enrollees -
you must make your decision and take action before Monday, Dec 9, 2019.
Annuitants: If you didn't sign up for Medicare Part B when you were first eligible, or within 8 months of your retirement (the Special Enrollment Period), you'll have to wait until January to enroll during the General Enrollment Period (enrollment to take effect on July 1) in which case you'll be subject to the Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty. Here's an excellent short video from GEHA on Medicare Enrollment.
The Medicare Part B "Special Enrollment Period" Explained
If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that it is far more likely for a regional HMO to drop out of the FEHB Program, than one of the national health plans.
According to our friend, Tammy Flanagan:
The lines between preferred provider organization plans and health maintenance organization plans continue to blur. Today, you may find that a traditional fee for service plan such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield Basic Option requires the use of network providers (similar to an HMO) for the plan to provide coverage.
Plans such as Aetna Direct, which is classified as an HMO, work well for retirees nationwide who are enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B. It does not require a referral to see a specialist, and coverage is available outside of the network providers.
Laurie Bodenheimer, acting director of health care and insurance at OPM, said this week that only 5% to 6% of federal enrollees change plans during open season, adding that she wished the percentage was higher. She admitted that switching could be a daunting task, and people enrolled in plans currently accepted by their doctors may be reluctant to change. Others are put off by the confusing jargon in the health insurance world.
MVP Health Care, which covers 3,200 employees and more than 4,000 retirees in New York, will end participation in the FEHB program by year-end. Enrollees will have to select a new plan during the open season. Otherwise, they will be automatically enrolled in the lowest-cost nationwide plan option, which for 2020 is GEHA Elevate.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s standard option remains the most popular FEHBP plan with retirees, with more than 930,000 retiree enrollments as of March 2018. But it’s also one of the most expensive. Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s basic option was most popular among current employees, with 807,000 enrollments.