To help restore USPS to financial stability, the organization’s leaders for many years have called for Medicare to be fully integrated into postal retiree health plans.
To help you understand what this means, here are some things you should know:
• Integrating the Postal Service’s Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) plans with Medicare would benefit both USPS and its retirees. When postal employees retire and are enrolled in Medicare, their Medicare coverage becomes their primary health coverage and their FEHB plans become their secondary health coverage.
Most private sector employers — and many state and local governments — that provide retiree health care to their employees require them to enroll in Medicare parts A and B.
While currently postal retirees are not required to enroll in Medicare when they become eligible at age 65, the majority of retirees do so voluntarily. In fact, 3 out of 4 retirees sign up for Medicare Part B because they determine that having both Medicare and an FEHB plan provides a better value for their out-of-pocket medical costs.
• Current legislative proposals being discussed on Capitol Hill would require that the Postal Service’s FEHB plans integrate with Medicare. If enacted, these proposals would be similar to what occurs in the private sector and at the state and local government levels.
There are a number of benefits to retirees under these proposals. While retirees would have an additional cost associated with Medicare Part B coverage, many FEHB plans eliminate the deductibles, copays and coinsurance for retirees who enroll in Medicare. Some plans offer additional incentives such as lower copays for prescription drugs for participants who enroll in Medicare.
Additionally, retirees may be able to select an FEHB plan with a lower premium cost when enrolling in Medicare and still maintain 100 percent coverage. Often, these savings offset or even exceed the cost of Medicare Part B coverage for many retirees.
• Integration with Medicare would ensure that the Postal Service would be able to provide retiree health care for employees into the future. However, it’s important to understand that this proposal alone won’t restore USPS to financial stability.
The Postal Service also requires legislative reform, a better product and service pricing system, and continued efforts to innovate and improve efficiency.
USPS will provide employees and retirees with more information on Medicare integration when it becomes available.