Lloyd D. Watnik Government Benefits Consulting
October 2009
Vol 1, Issue 9
"It's YOUR Retirement!
Stay informed."
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TriCare Health Benefits
Retired military people receive TriCare health benefits. TriCare is an excellent plan, but it has several drawbacks. The inquiries that we receive deal with the relationship of TriCare with civilian Federal plans and Medicare. 

TriCare is a comprehensive plan, but restrictions as to doctors and types of coverage (as with all plans) applies. Most military retirees are very satisfied with TriCare. However, we have received numerous inquiries concerning TriCare's relationship to the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) plans. 

Please forward this to your friends and family as an informative tool for retirement planning.

Lloyd D. Watnik
TriCare Requirements
To carry a Federal plan (FEHB) into retirement, you must be in FEHB for 5 years prior to retirement from the civilian government and you must be in an FEHB plan on the date of retirement. TriCare counts toward the 5 years of enrollment. Generally, you must enroll in an FEHB plan a year before you retire from the civilian Government in order to be in on the date of retirement. Enrollment is effective at the beginning of the first pay period in January. Therefore, if you retire December 31st or the beginning of January, the first pay period has not started before the date of retirement.
Plan Suspension
When a TriCare eligible person retires from the Federal Government, they can suspend their FEHB plan and bring it back during any open season. We recommend that TriCare people get an FEHB plan and suspend it after retirement in case they need it at a later date.
Medicare Part B
TriCare (Military retiree health plan) eligible people must take Medicare Part B at 65 even if they are still working. The question is should you have Federal Health Benefits and TriCare or if not both, which? Military retirees also eligible for civilian Federal plans can now suspend their Federal plan when they retire or any time after retirement from the civilian Government retirement systems, and bring it back during an open season for civilian health benefits. Check into your individual needs and options long before you retire or turn 65.

Check with TriCare about the possibility of dropping TriCare at 65 if you are still working for the Government. I believe that will avoid the problem of signing up for Part B of Medicare until you retire from the civilian Government. The TriCare representatives can explain if you can do this. It would avoid paying $96.40 per month for Part B of Medicare until you retire and can suspend your civilian health plan.
Moving After Retirement
If you plan on moving after you retire, check to see if TriCare facilities and doctors are easily obtainable. Remember, also, that TriCare can be changed at the whim of Congress. We believe you should retain the flexibility of an FEHB plan in the event of TriCare and Medicare adverse changes.
More To Come!
NEXT MONTH: Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
We have been told that other seminar companies and Federal newsletters do point out "the good deals." We choose not to for several reasons. The most important reason is that our background and resources are in Federal retirement benefits. We are not life insurance, health insurance or mutual fund representatives and we refuse to take referral fees of any kind.

We, too, have noticed what appear to be recommendations in Federal e-mail and hard copy publications on all these issues. In many cases, they even give you an application or an 800 number in the publication or web site.  We have been told that fees are paid and, in fact, the article was written, by the offering party. BE CAREFUL!!!   Do your homework.

We sell nothing other than our course. We do not accept referral fees. Our goal is to help Federal Employees have a successful retirement. We allow our students to call us about Federal benefits any time after taking the course without charge.

Next month we will discuss Federal Employee Health Benefits.
Thank you for reading!
 Lloyd D. Watnik Government Benefits Consulting

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