Preparing for Medicare
What you need to know about Medicare and your health care coverage options.
Helping you prepare for what’s next
When it comes to Medicare, there’s a lot to consider. To help you make the most informed decision, we’ve provided some important information you can use to better understand how Medicare works and when you’re eligible to enroll.
Keep in mind that if you’re already a member of FEP and you choose to combine your coverage with Medicare,* you’ll get additional benefits—plus coverage for services that Medicare does not cover.
Get Started with Medicare
Learn the basics of Medicare
Find out when you can enroll
Learn about combining FEP & Medicare
Sign up for Medicare
Using your FEP & Medicare benefits
When can you enroll in Medicare?
For most people, your initial eligibility period begins three months before your 65th birthday. It ends three months after your 65th birthday.
You may pay a late enrollment penalty if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible. Please note that your eligibility may also vary based on your employment status (if you are actively working or retired).
Enter your birthday for your personalized enrollment timeline:
7 month enrollment period
3 months before
Your birthday month
3 months after
If you don’t enroll when you’re first eligible, you may pay a late enrollment penalty.
If you and your spouse are both retired, you may pay a late enrollment penalty if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible.
The penalty is a 10% premium increase for each year you delay enrollment.
You also usually have to wait for the annual Medicare General Enrollment Period (January–March) to sign up if you choose to enroll later.
If you’re still working when you turn 65, the late enrollment penalty doesn’t apply.
FEP will typically remain your primary coverage.
Once you retire, you’ll have 8 months to enroll in Part B before the penalty kicks in.
To learn more, visit medicare.gov
If your spouse is still working, you don’t have to enroll in Medicare Part B.
As long as you still have group health insurance through your spouse’s employer, you’ll be covered by that plan as your primary coverage.
If you and your spouse are both retired, we recommend you enroll in Medicare Part B as soon as you’re eligible.
When can you enroll in Medicare?
For most people, your initial eligibility period begins three months before your 65th birthday. It ends three months after your 65th birthday. You may pay a late enrollment penalty if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible. Please note that your eligibility may also vary based on your employment status.
As long as you don’t cancel your health insurance, it will never go away for as long as you’re retired. If you do choose to cancel your insurance, you will never be able to re-enroll in a health insurance plan through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. If you want to try a different plan such as Medicare Advantage or Tricare, you may suspend your coverage and still retain the right to re-enroll in the FEHB. To learn more, visit opm.gov/retire.
Combine FEP and Medicare for fewer out-of-pocket costs and up to $800 back
When you combine your FEP coverage with Medicare Part A and Part B primary, you get additional benefits that Medicare alone doesn’t cover.
- Pay no out-of-pocket costs for certain covered services like primary care visits, urgent care centers, surgery, lab work and more
- Basic Option members with Medicare Part A and Part B and/or Part C can get reimbursed up to $800 a year through a Medicare Reimbursement Account
- You’re eligible for the FEP Medicare Prescription Drug Program, which offers lower out-of-pocket costs for higher cost drugs and additional approved prescription drugs in some tiers than the traditional pharmacy benefit, all as part of the FEP premium.*