CANDOER Retirement Group

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CANDOER Blog
January 02, 2019 - Present
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Monday, May 13, 2019 - 9:50 p.m.

Death of Mary V. Prosser

Mary Prosser

Mary V. Prosser, 87, died peacefully on Sunday, May 12, 2019. She was born in Catano, Puerto Rico to the late Juan and Lila (Carballo) Lamurey. She was the wife of James (Jim) F. Prosser of Green Bay.

As the daughter of a career U.S. Army officer, Mary lived in many states during her life. She graduated from Cristobal High School, Panama in 1950 and followed her family to Eatontown, NJ, where her father was stationed at Ft. Monmouth. Mary worked at the Signal Corps Engineering Labs at Ft. Monmouth and joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1955. She served at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn, Germany, where she met Jim. Following their marriage in Munich in 1960, they served in the Belgian Congo, Belgium, the Soviet Union, Switzerland, Kenya and Italy, before retiring to Green Bay in 1990. She was a member of St. Philip the Apostle Parish.

An avid traveler, Mary visited all 50 states and actually lived in 13 different countries between being an "Army brat" and a foreign service employee and spouse. She and Jim loved to travel on freighter ships and actually sailed around the world in 2001. She also enjoyed train travel in Europe and safari trips in Africa. She loved classic movies, multiple genres of music, soap operas, and playing any card or board game including bridge and Aw Shucks!!! She was a master of Trivial Pursuit and was often the first player picked when family members would gather to play.

Most of all, Mary loved her God, her family and her friends. She devoted much of her day to reciting novenas and prayers for others. She will be greatly missed. Survivors include her husband, James; son, Stephen (Jodi), Oak Hill, VA; grandchildren, Jennifer and Matthew; and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, Mary is preceded in death by her siblings, Yolanda (Richard) Jordan, John (Rosemary) Lamurey and Elizabeth Ann Lamurey.

Visitation will be at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, 312 Victoria St., from 9:30 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, with Rev. William Hoffman officiating the Funeral Mass at 11:00 a.m.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.Prokowall.com. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Philip the Apostle Parish.

Funeral Mass: Saturday May 18, 2019, 11:00 a.m. at St. Philip the Apostle
Visitation: Saturday May 18, 2019, 9:30-10:45 a.m. at St. Philip the Apostle

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Sunday, May 05, 2019 - 12:30 p.m.

I have added a new link to the Useful Links page. It is titled, "Emergency Preparedness Guide for Seniors and Caretakers." Thanks to William Hudson, Communications Manager, Choose Energy, for furnishing this information!

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Friday, April 26, 2019 - 10:50 a.m.

Death of Rod Painter


Received a note from Bill Beis that "He happened to come across the following obituary!"

Rodney Glenn "Rod" Painter, 75, of Stafford County passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, with family by his side.

Rod is survived by his wife, Birgitte Painter; three children, Caron Napolillo of Peachtree City, Ga., and Tracy Ulmer and Sean Painter, both of Stafford. He is also survived by three grandchildren, Amanda, Alex and Joseph.

Rod was born to the late Henry and Myrtle Painter on Dec. 6, 1939, in Milroy, Pa. After attending Texas A&M he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1961. In 1965, he began an exciting 36-year career traveling the world for the State Department Foreign Service.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Our loving husband, father and grandfather will be forever loved and missed.

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Thursday, April 14, 2019 - 12:30 p.m.

Babe Martin furnished new contact information. Thanks for helping me keep my records up to date!

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Thursday, April 14, 2019 - 12:20 p.m.

Rob Robinson furnished a picture of attendees at the April 9, 2019, Washington, DC CANDOERs luncheon.

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Thursday, April 04, 2019 - 9:00 a.m.

We have a new member, Meredith Hiemstra. Welcome to the CANDOERs!

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Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 10:50 p.m.

Death of Gail Thompson

Gail Thompson

I received the following obit from Chandra Smith

Gail Thompson our beloved daughter and sister peacefully left us on Friday morning, March 16, 2018 after enduring years of chronic lung disease. Gail was born on 1-16-1957 in Cleveland, Ohio. She was a graduate of St. Augustine Academy in Lakewood, Ohio.

Gail enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly thereafter and was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan for most of her enlistment. She then started her career with the U.S. Department of State. She was posted at U.S. embassies in Malawi, London, Cairo, Vienna, the Ivory Coast and Santa Domingo and finally Washington, D.C.

She retired to Texas to be near her mother, Dorothy Thompson, her sisters and brothers-in-law, Lesley and Jack Rogers of San Antonio and Connie and Bill Ricks of Cedar Park.

Gail is predeceased by her father, Les Thompson, and her brother Kurt Thompson. She was a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan and never met a cat she couldn't adopt, foster or feed. There was a crowd waiting for her at the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you to Cindy, Jess and Kevin of Brookdale Hospice for Gail's wonderful care. It was Gail's wish to have no service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to any animal charity.

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Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 10:35 p.m.

Death of Bradley Scott Duff

Bradley Duff

I received the following obit from Chandra Smith

Bradley Scott Duff, 60, of Summerville , South Carolina died, January 26, 2017.

He was born on September 13, 1956 in Lexington, Nebraska to the late Charles Duff and Elvera (Holthus) Rohrs.

Brad was an Army Veteran and retired from U.S. State Department Foreign Service. After his military service, he graduated from Kearney State College. His position with the State Department Finance Office, brought him and the family to Summerville, where he finally retired in 2007.

One of his favorite pastimes was working outdoors and in the yard. He also enjoyed college football and was an avid Nebraska Cornhusker fan. Past memberships include the Elk Lodge and the First Lutheran Church in Kearney, NE. His family will miss his teasing and sense of humor.

Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Valerie; daughter, Kyla Woelfle and her husband Nathan of Knoxville, TN; son, Ryan Duff and his wife Jamie of Aiken, SC; grandchildren, Luanna Sault and grand-kitty, Riley (Dennis); brother, Douglas Duff and his wife Kathy Vandegrift of Wisconsin; sisters in law, Sandy Duff, Sally Lambertus; brother in law, Joe C. Mettenbrink; and many loving cousins and extended family members.

Besides his parents, he is predeceased by his brother Dennis Duff.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Francis R. Willis SPCA - Dorchester County 136 Four Paws Lane Summerville, SC 29483 or the LowCountry Animal Rescue P.O. Box 952 Ladson, SC 29456.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 11:00 a.m.

We have three new members, John and Rana Voxakis, stationed overseas and Jimmie Rabourn, retired and living in Florida. Welcome to the CANDOERs!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 10:00 a.m.

Alice Fisher widow of Dan Fisher, furnished a new snail-mail address. Thank you Alice for helping me keep my records up-to-date!

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Friday, March 22, 2019 - 1:00 p.m.

Leo Duncan furnished a new e-mail address. Thanks for helping me keep my records up-to-date!

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Friday, March 15, 2019 - 2:00 p.m.

Bob Balderas furnished an up-date to his bio that included a new email address, telephone number and date of retirement! Thanks for helping keep my records up-to-date!

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 9:40 a.m.

Stuart McGuigan
Stuart M. McGuigan

The Department of State has announced Stuart McGuigan will be there newest CIO. He will report for duty on March 25.

BACKGROUND:

Stuart M. McGuigan, vice president and chief information officer for Johnson & Johnson, has global responsibility for information technology strategy and operations. Working closely with business leadership, he is responsible for accelerating the pace of technology innovation for enabling patients, providers and consumers; delivering key business improvement programs; and driving overall IT effectiveness. Stuart joined Johnson & Johnson in April of 2012.

Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, Stuart was CIO and SVP for CVS Caremark, the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States. In that role, Stuart was responsible for the company's information systems and technology operations, including information technology strategy, application development and technology infrastructure.

Stuart previously held key IT positions at Liberty Mutual and Medco Health Solutions, in addition to a number of technology and business areas, including marketing research, product management, and e-commerce. He has a B.A. in psychology from Fairfield University and an M.S. and M.Ph. from the cognitive science program at Yale University. He currently serves on the advisory board for Golden Gate University's new master's in business analytics program.

A devoted Irish American, Stuart has been involved in the development of a stable business environment in Northern Ireland for more than 12 years, working with both Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, as well as Gordon Brown and Enda Kenny to further world-class IT work in the Republic and the North. "An Irish heritage is always front and center with a last name like McGuigan, which requires constant spelling and pronunciation," he says. "However, the opportunity in my role as CIO to work with the governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic has been great payback."

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Monday, March 11, 2019 - 9:40 a.m.

Stu Branch received word from Joyce Scott that Scotty has a new address at the Assisted Living facility where he is staying.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 1:50 p.m.

Death of Walter 'Mick' Miller

Walter "Mick" Miller passed away peacefully on Sunday, December 30, 2018.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - 9:20 p.m.

Death of Ralph R. Crain

Ralph Crain

Ralph Rendell Crain (age 93) passed peacefully in his home on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. Predeceased by his loving wife of 63 years, Dolores Atkinson Crain.

Ralph was born August 12, 1925 in Union City, Tennessee the son of the late Blannie B. and Francis Sawyer Crain.

He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word, always putting others' needs before his own, and serving his family and his country with grace and honor. Ralph began his service to our country as a radioman for the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during WWIl. At the end of the war, he began working with the GSA in the typing pool, working his way up to a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department. He traveled to Saigon during the Vietnam war, working at the U.S. Embassy in Communications. After that, he became Head of Communications in the U.S. Embassy in his favorite of all posts, Paris. Ralph was proud of his career, and frequently said that he felt fortunate to be able to provide well for his family, which eventually came to include the generations of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Upon retirement, Ralph became an avid gardener, creating an outdoor space that could have been a spread in a Home & Garden magazine. He and Dolores spent much of their time antique hunting, and would explore different towns, finding old treasures then bringing them home to fix them up using his talent for painting. He was a lover of mystery books, good music, and cooking. His grandkids will always think of his spicy cornbread as his best dish! In his later years, he was a doting grandfather, and great-grandfather to a growing family. He was always making the kids giggle, and he could still dance around the floor with his walker as his partner at his grandson's wedding at the age of 91.

Ralph is survived by his three loving children, Terri Crain and husband Frank Moran of Adamstown, Betsy Blatchley and husband Scott of Monrovia, and Scott Crain of Venice, FL; seven grandchildren, Desiree DiFabio and husband John, Chaise Blatchley and wife Jennifer, Joshua Blatchley and wife Jessica, Adam Crain and wife Courtney, Stephen Crain, Michael Crain, and Mallory Crain; ten great-grandchildren, Maxwell DiFabio, Chloe DiFabio, Gia DiFabio, namesake Franco Rendell DiFabio, Carter Blatchley, Bowen Blatchley, Emory Blatchley, Mason Crain, Emery Crain, and Evan Crabbe. He is also survived by many dear friends with whom he was most thankful to share his last few years.

Memorial services will be held at Interfaith Chapel, 3680 S. Leisure World Blvd., Silver Spring, Maryland 20906 on Saturday, February 9, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Friends of the Blind 672 Old Mill Rd #128, Millersville, MD 21108-1363 or online at https://www.loc.gov/nls/about/support-nls/

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Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - 6:35 p.m.

I received the following from Robert Novak:

A number of FS colleagues have reached out to ask if I am again participating in the annual Fire Fighter Stair Climb to support the important battle against Leukemia. The answer is yes. I am back in the gym training and getting ready. This year the climb will be on March 10, only five weeks away. During my climb of 1,356 steps in full gear (about 54 lbs.) I will carry the names of people and families impacted by this disease to inspire me. If you know someone fightingthis disease, I would very much appreciate carrying that name with me. Please send it directly to me at: Robert.Novak@PLFR.org and include any note or remembrance you would like included.

If you wish to make a tax deductible donation, use the link below and then select the red DONATE NOW button to the right. As always, I very much appreciate the support and words of encouragement. An added bonus has been reconnecting with a number of friends from the FS.

PS - The climb is in Seattle, the home of Medic One - the Gold Standard on Emergency Cardiac Rescue. During the climb I will be in the stairwell of the Columbia tower surrounded by 1600 fire fighters/paramedics. What could go wrong!

www.llswa.org/site/TR/LLSWA/llswaFF?px=1688814&pg=personal&fr_id=1620


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Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - 6:30 p.m.

Alberto Ortiz sent me the snail-mail address for the people who handle the 1099R in Charleston:

U.S. Department of State
Foreign Service Annuity Roll
Post Office Box 150008
Charleston, SC 29405-0008

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Saturday, February 02, 2019 - 2:30 a.m.

Tom Bell sent me a comprehensive list of information for retirees titled "Retirement Services: Who Does What?" This list may be found under the Useful Information tab on the main menu! Thank You Tom!

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Saturday, February 02, 2019 - 10:30 a.m.

I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the MANY of you who responded to my query for contact information at the Human Resources Services Center in Charleston, SC. For future reference, this information will be permanently posted to the Useful Information tab on the main menu!

Human Resources Services Center in Charleston (HRSC)

First point of contact for retirement-related questions

Receives and processes forms from annuitants for FEHB, FEGLI, and beneficiary changes
Quickly answers basic questions (typically 2/3 of those received)
Forwards complex questions to HR/RET retirement counselors for their response

1-866-300-7419 (Toll free)
1-843-308-5539 (Outside U.S.)
1-843-202-3807 (Fax)
HRSC@state.gov (E-mail address )

Telephone number for questions to the Consolidated American Payroll Division (for 1099R, etc.)

1-800-521-2553 (Toll free)
1-843-308-5626 (Local telephone number)
1-843-308-5425 (Fax)
PayHelp@State.gov (E-mail address)

Director of HRSC is: Jeff Mounts - 1-843-308-5301 (Only as a last resort)

Mailing address

Office of Retirement (HR/RET)
U.S. Department of State HR Service Center
1999 Dyess Ave, Building E
Charleston, SC 29405

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Friday, February 01, 2019 - 3:30 p.m.

The following was received from Jim Prosser:

Robert Novak

Here's a report on CANDOER and former CEO Robert Novak's update on his training for his annual 65 story climb to support leukemia and lymphoma victims.

First off I wanted to thank you all for the generous donations and warm wishes for my participation in the Fire Fighter Stair climb for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. With the climb next month (five weeks from this Sunday) I wanted to give you an update on my training progress.

Thanks to your generosity I have just about qualified for "early bird" registration for the 2020 Stair Climb - With the climb so popular and limited participants, this is a big deal and lowers the stress for making sure you get signed up successfully. I also caught a matching donation promotion and won another promotion that allows me to bring my brother Dann to the venue. This is another big deal as the Columbia Tower site is limited to fire fighters and support staff only, with family and friends observing via CCTV from some nearby hotels.

On the actual physical training - With about five weeks to go I am meeting my personal training goals - As of the end of January I am on the stair master machine at the appropriate pace and carrying the correct weight (54 lbs.) and working for my target time of less than 30 minutes for the 1400 steps. The weight vest is on my arm in my "resting" photo.

Robert Novak

More to come on March 10th! Thanks again for your support. Robert

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Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 4:50 p.m.

Received a note from Ed Ferry today in reference to the article about FEHB/Medicare coverage for retirees. Ed pointed out that if you plan to travel overseas that Medicare will not cover you. If you do not have an FEHB plan you may need to purchase an expensive health plan for your travel!

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Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 10:50 a.m.

Jim Prosser sent me a story written by Michael A. Hiltzik about the founding of the internet. It may be found on the "New Stories" page on the Main Menu!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 10:50 a.m.

Death of Charles L. Christian, Jr.

Charles Christian

I received the below from three people, Carmen Bevacqua, Dick Kalla and Elaine Christian:

Charles Lawrence Christian, Jr., aged 86, died peacefully in Fairfield, CA on January 24th, 2019 after a prolonged battle with Interstitial Lung Disease. He had been in hospice care for the last few months of his life where he was able to maintain his independent spirit to the end.

Charles was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 56 years, Mary Lou Christian (nee Cocanougher). He is survived by his daughters Elaine Christian of San Francisco, Margaret Christian of Citrus Heights, son Douglas Christian and his wife Danilda of Fairfield and his grandchildren; William Steele, Gregory Steele, Chianne Skidmore, Cali Debevoise, and by Daphne Tan, Dee Jay and Darryl John Ibanez.

Charles was born in Portland, Oregon July 20th, 1932 to Charles and Eunice (nee Homm) Christian. His father was a chief steward for Matson Lines which led to Charles spending his childhood in various locales including, the family farm in Gaston Oregon, Portland, San Francisco, Honolulu, Long Beach and Burlingame.

At the age of 17 (1949) he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he was advanced to Senior Cryptographer during the Korean War. He was stationed in Texas, Wyoming, Alaska and Washington, D.C. He returned to the Bay Area where he graduated from San Mateo Junior College and worked for United Airlines (1952-1955) at SFO as a Communications Operator and Passenger Agent. In 1955 Charles was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency and began his career as a Communications Specialist. From 1955-1967, he served in this capacity in Washington DC, Turkey, Lebanon, Cyprus, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, Greece, West Germany and Southern California. He returned to the State Department (1982-1986) as a Communications Officer and served in Muscat Oman, and Bonn Germany.

In 1959, he married Mary Lou Cocanougher, a vivacious young woman from San Bruno and a United Airlines Stewardess Supervisor who would later become a beloved elementary school teacher in Rincon Valley. After three children and life in three different countries Charles resigned from the CIA in order to provide a more stable upbringing for his children. He relocated in 1967 to Santa Rosa, California where he and his wife remained for 47 years. During the next 15 years, Charles worked in sales for AAA, Hearst Corporation, and as a General Agent for health and funeral insurance in Sonoma County.

He is best remembered in his later years for his keen interest in history, specifically the American Revolution and the American Civil War. As a descendant of an American Revolutionary war soldier, he was past president and chaplain of the local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. As a descendant of a Civil War veteran he was past commander and chaplain for the Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, Camp 23 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW).

Other clubs and memberships include: North Bay Civil War Round Table, Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery, Pacific Coast Air Museum, Sonoma County Amateur Radio Club, Roadrunners Internationale, Dragon Lady Association, and Blackbird Association, the last three having to do with his involvement in the Cold War.

A Memorial Service will be held in his honor on February 16th, 2019 at 11:00 in the Chapel at Santa Rosa Memorial Park, 1900 Franklin Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA. A graveside ceremony will be presented in the Veteran Urn Garden by the SUVCW at the conclusion of the Memorial Service.

Special thanks are extended by the family to the caregivers, Miho Tyson of Continuum Hospice and Emmanuel Salas of Serenity Care Manor who provided him with comfort and respect to the end.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - Noon

Following is an article that every retiree that is about to reach 65 should read. It helps to answer the question "Should Federal Retirees Enroll in Medicare?"

This article will be placed under the USEFUL INFORMATION Tab on the Main Menu for future reference.

Should Federal Retirees Enroll in Medicare?
By Edward A. Zurndorfer, Certified Financial Planner

Federal employees have numerous questions as they plan for their retirement from federal service. One of the most often-asked questions is whether a federal retiree, a CSRS or a FERS annuitant, should enroll in Medicare when he or she becomes first eligible.

This question is difficult to answer for many federal annuitants. The reason for this difficulty is that most federal employees are eligible to keep their Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) health insurance benefits throughout retirement and the federal government continues to pay on average 72 to 75 percent of the FEHB premiums, identical to what the federal government pays on their behalf for their health insurance premiums when they are employees.

The question therefore becomes: Why does a federal annuitant need to enroll in Medicare when they have full insurance coverage under the FEHB program? This column will attempt to answer this question and will also answer other frequently asked questions, namely:

When should federal retirees enroll in Medicare and in which parts of Medicare?
Is there a late enrollment penalty for Medicare and when does the penalty apply?
Which is "primary" coverage - FEHB or Medicare?

It is important to first review the different parts to Medicare. There are four parts to Medicare - Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.

Part A (Hospital Insurance) Helps pay for inpatient hospital care, home health care, and hospice care and prescriptions dispersed in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

Part B (Medical Insurance) Helps pay for covered services received from a doctor, outpatient hospital car, durable medical equipment, ambulance services, and many other health services and supplies that are not covered by Part A. Part B does not pay for most routine dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aids, most immunizations, or most prescription drugs. Beginning in 2011, Part B covers an annual wellness visit where beneficiaries are provided a personalized prevention plan, including a health risk assessment.

Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans), formerly called Medicare Choice plans These plans are offered by private companies that are approved by Medicare. Federal annuitants covered by a FEHB plan do not need Medicare Part C.

Part D (Prescription Drug Plans) which helps pay for outpatient prescription drugs These plans are approved by Medicare but are managed by private companies. Different plans cover different drugs and may be offered only in specific areas of the country. Federal annuitants covered by FEHB plans usually do not need to enroll in Medicare Part D.

Medicare Parts A and B are called the "original" Medicare. Federal employees are eligible for Part A if they, or their spouse, worked in a Medicare Part A-covered employment for at least 10 years (40 credits), are 65 years or older, and are a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. If an individual is eligible for Medicare Part A, then the individual and the individual's spouse is automatically eligible for Medicare Parts B, C and D.

An individual pays no monthly premium for Medicare Part A, assuming the individual has at least 10 years-worth (40 credits) of Medicare-covered employment. Since all federal employees have been paying the Part A payroll tax since Jan. 1, 1983, all federal employees will be eligible to enroll in Part A when they are age 65 and there will be no monthly premium cost. Annuitants age 65 and employees who are working past age 65 are strongly encouraged to enroll in Part A within a few months of their 65th birthday. In so doing, this may help cover some of the hospital-related costs that a FEHB plan may not cover, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and charges that exceed the plan's allowable charges.

Any federal annuitant 65 and older enrolled in a fee-for-service (FFS) plan such as Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), GEHA, or Mail Handlers should seriously consider enrolling in Medicare Part B. Medicare Part B enrollment and one's FFS plan may combine to provide almost complete coverage for all medical expenses. In other words, between the FEHB plan and Part B, an annuitant would have minimum - probably no - out-of-pocket expenses to pay, including no deductibles, copayments or coinsurance.

Those annuitants who are enrolled in an HMO may not need to enroll in Part B. HMOs provide most medical services with usual small copayments. But some annuitants enrolled in HMOs may want to consider enrolling in Part B as Part B pays for costs involved with seeing doctors outside the HMO network. Part B also pays for costs for non-emergency care in the US if traveling is involved.

The employees with FEHB coverage and who work past age 65 do not have to enroll in Part B when they become age 65. As long as they continue to work in federal service, their FEHB coverage will be primary for medical services such as doctor visits and laboratory services, and they can use their health care flexible spending account (HCFSA) to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses. These individuals will have a special enrollment period (see below under "Medicare Parts A and B Enrollment Periods" #3) when they retire or when their spouse retires to enroll in Part B without paying a penalty.

Unlike Medicare Part A which is free for most enrollees, there is a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. Most individuals will pay the standard monthly premium, but some individuals will pay a higher premium based on their modified adjusted gross income (MAGI).

Medicare Part B Premiums/Deductibles Medicare Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and certain other medical and health services not covered by Medicare Part A.

The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees is $135.50 during 2019, an increase of $1.50 from $134 during 2018. An estimated 2 million Medicare beneficiaries will pay less than the full Part B standard monthly premium amount in 2019 due to the statutory "hold harmless provision", which limits certain beneficiaries' increase in their Part B premium to be no greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits. The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $185 in 2019, an increase of $2 from the annual deductible $183 in 2018.

Since 2007, a beneficiary's Part B monthly premium is based on his or her MAGI. These income-related monthly adjustment amounts (IRMAA) affect roughly 5 percent of people with Medicare Part B.

Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage) Generally, it will almost always be to a federal employee's advantage to keep their FEHB coverage in retirement without any changes. The exception is for those with limited incomes and resources who may qualify for Medicare's extra help with prescription drug costs. Prior to retiring, federal employees should contact the benefits administrator or their FEHB insurer for information about their FEHB prescription coverage before making any changes.

It is important to note that FEHB prescription drug coverage is an integral part of a federal employee's total health benefits package. An employee cannot suspend or cancel FEHB prescription drug coverage without losing the FEHB plan coverage in its entirety (in other words, losing coverage) for hospital and medical services which could mean significantly higher costs for those services.

Since all FEHB Program plans have as good or better prescription drug coverage than Medicare, FEHB plans are considered to offer "creditable" prescription drug coverage. Therefore, if a federal employee decides not to join a Medicare drug plan when first eligible but changes his or her mind later and while still enrolled in a FEHB plan, the individual can do so without paying a late enrollment penalty. As long as the individual has FEHB coverage, they may enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan from during the Medicare Part D "open season" (October 15 to December 7 of each year) at the regular monthly premium rate. However, if the individual loses FEHB coverage and wants to join a Medicare prescription drug program, they must join within 60 days of losing their FEHB coverage and the monthly Part D premium will include a late enrollment penalty. The late enrollment penalty will increase each year that one waits to enroll and will be included in the premium each year for as long as coverage is maintained.

When Should a Federal Retiree or Annuitant Enroll in Medicare Parts A and B?

Individuals already receiving monthly Social Security retirement benefits are automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B in the month they become age 65. Individuals who are within a few months of their 65th birthday and not receiving monthly Social Security retirement benefits must apply for Medicare Parts A and B by contacting the Social Security Administration. They may do so by either calling 1-800-772-1213 or going online at https://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly.

Medicare Parts A and B Enrollment Periods

An individual can enroll during one of the following periods:

Three months before, the month, or three months after the month the individual becomes age 65. Between Jan. 1 and March 31 of each year - with coverage becoming effective the following July 1. Within eight months of losing health insurance coverage provided by an employer or union or retiring from an employer providing health insurance in retirement such as the federal government through the FEHB program.

The following examples illustrate:

Example 1 Larry retired from federal service on Jan. 3, 2019 and will become age 65 in July 2019. Larry is enrolled in FEHB and will be throughout his retirement. Larry needs to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B between April 1, 2019 and Oct. 31, 2019 in order to avoid paying a late enrollment penalty for Part B.

Example 2 Fran, age 66, is a federal employee and intends to retire from federal service on Dec. 31, 2019 at the age of 67. When Fran became age 65 in 2017, she enrolled in Medicare Part A but did not enroll in Part B. This is because she continued to work in federal service and is enrolled in a FEHB plan. When Fran retires on Dec. 31, 2019, she must enroll in Medicare Part B between Jan. 1, 2020 and Aug. 31, 2020. She will do so in person at a local Social Security office, bringing with her two items as proof that she continued to work past age 65 and had health insurance through her employer. She needs to bring her last statement of earnings and leave, and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Form CMS-L564 (Request for Employment Information). This form is downloadable from https://www.cms.gov and is completed by Fran's Personnel Office.

Is There a Late Enrollment Penalty? If an individual did not sign up for Part B when he or she was first eligible, then the Part B monthly premium may be higher. In particular, the cost of Part B may go up 10 percent for each 12-month period that an individual could have been enrolled in Part B but did not sign up for it. The individual will have to pay this extra monthly premium as long as the individual has Part B, except in special cases. For those individuals who miss the deadline to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when they are first eligible, Medicare has an "open season" enrollment for Parts A and B each year between January 1 and March 31 with coverage becoming effective the following July 1. But a late enrollment penalty for Part B (not for Part A) will apply equal to 10 percent per year of the first tier Part B monthly premium amount in effect that year ($135.50 per month during 2019). The penalty period is measured from the last month the individual could have enrolled in Medicare and July 1 of the year Medicare Part B becomes effective.

Which is "Primary" Coverage - Medicare or FEHB?

A FEHB plan must pay first when an individual is an active federal employee or rehired annuitant. When an individual is an annuitant and is enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and in a FEHB plan, then Medicare is primary coverage and the FEHB is secondary coverage or Medicare supplement.

FEHB premiums will not be reduced when an employee or annuitant enrolls in Medicare. Annuitants pay the same FEHB premium for the same FEHB plan as active employees. However, once Medicare becomes the primary payer of an individual's healthcare related expense, the individual may find that a lower cost FEHB plan is adequate for their needs, especially if the individual is currently enrolled in a FEHB plan's high option coverage. Also, some FEHB plans waive deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments when Medicare is primary.

Since enrolling in Medicare is considered a "life event", an annuitant or employee can change his or her FEHB plan to any available plan or option at any time beginning 30 days before becoming eligible for Medicare and ending 30 days after the day the individual becomes eligible for Medicare. Changes to one's FEHB plan can also be made during the annual FEHB open season.

TriCare Health Insurance Coverage and Medicare

Those federal employees who are receiving, or who will be receiving, military retirement pay (for active duty or for reserve duty) are or will be eligible for TriCare health insurance coverage. There are different types of TriCare health insurance, including TriCare Standard and TriCare Prime. But at age 65, a military retiree receiving retirement pay is eligible to enroll in TriCare-for-Life health insurance. There is no monthly premium cost for TriCare-for-Life provided the military retiree (and spouse, if applicable) is enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. This is because when a military retiree becomes age 65, Medicare is considered primary coverage and TriCare is considered secondary coverage.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 9:32 a.m.

We have a new member, David Chinn! Welcome aboard!

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Monday, January 14, 2018 - 4:15 p.m.

Death of Mark Abbey

Mark Abbey, Branch Chief/BIMC, passed on December 22, 2018. Mark was FS for 15 years and then switched to GS! ((No other information is available!))

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Friday, January 11, 2019 - 2:32 p.m.

We have new members, Gene and Guojiao Thompson! Welcome aboard!

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Friday, January 11, 2019 - 2:22 p.m.

A new link has been added to the Useful Links page. It is entitled "Senior Safe Driving." Thanks to Grace from teens4safety for furnishing this link!

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Friday, January 04, 2019 - 11:00 a.m.

We have a new member, Dick Jacob, from Virginia! Welcome aboard!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2019 - 4:00 p.m.

We have a new member, Daniel Aguayo, from California! Welcome aboard!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2019 - 11:00 a.m.

We have two new members, Stephen Provencal, from Texas, and Ritchie Miller, from Virginia! Welcome aboard!