The November 14, 2017, chat with GEHA President Julie Browne has concluded. The transcript is available below and will remain online for several weeks.

For more information about GEHA’s 2018 plans and benefits, please visit or, or give us a call at 800.821.6136

Temple Hill, Maryland (GEHA Standard Option): I do not have questions at present; but praise. GEHA is the best health insurance in the country. The fair, customer-first attitude it exemplifies is unmatched and puts it first among its competitors. I recommend GEHA to all my co-workers and friends. Long Live GEHA!
Julie Browne: Thank you very much for those kind words. I'm so glad to hear that GEHA is working for you. We look forward to serving you in 2018!

Colorado Springs, Colorado (GEHA HDHP Option): What would be the cost of adding family vision and dental to my plan ?
Julie Browne:

Good Morning!

We do have supplemental vision and dental insurance available.

The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) is separate and different from the FEHB Program. This Program provides comprehensive dental and vision insurance at competitive group rates with no pre-existing condition limitations for enrollment.

FEDVIP is available to eligible Federal and Postal Service employees, retirees, and their eligible family members on an enrollee-pay-all basis. Employee premiums are withheld from salary on a pre-tax basis.

For Dental Insurance: All dental plans provide a comprehensive range of services, including:

• Class A (Basic) services, which include oral examinations, prophylaxis, diagnostic evaluations, sealants and x-rays.

• Class B (Intermediate) services, which include restorative procedures such as fillings, prefabricated stainless steel crowns, periodontal scaling, tooth extractions, and denture adjustments.

• Class C (Major) services, which include endodontic services such as root canals, periodontal services such as gingivectomy, major restorative services such as crowns, oral surgery, bridges and prosthodontic services such as complete dentures.

• Class D (Orthodontic) services with up to a 12-month waiting period. Most FEDVIP dental plans cover adult orthodontia, but it may be limited. Review your FEDVIP dental plan’s brochure for information on this benefit. For Vision Insurance: All vision plans provide comprehensive eye examinations and coverage for lenses, frames and contact lenses. Other benefits such as discounts on LASIK surgery may also be available.

You can find a comparison of the plans available and their premiums on the OPM websites at www.opm.gove/dental and These sites also provide links to each plan’s website, where you can view detailed information about benefits and preferred providers. You enroll on the Internet at

cleveland, Ohio (GEHA High Option): I see this plan has no Breast Cancer Screening, is that correct?
Julie Browne: Breast Cancer Screenings are listed under preventive adult care and are covered at no cost for members at in-network providers. 

Virginia beach, Virginia (Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): Liver transplant coverage?
Julie Browne:

Yes liver transplants are a covered benefit at GEHA. Prior to the transplant we do require prior authorization. We have a designated team to review and approve all transplants. We will cover donor screening test and donor search expenses for up to four potential donors. We will also provide up to $10,000 travel benefit per covered transplant. Our In-network facilities we call Select facilities, please contact Customer service to see if facility/provider is In-Network for transplants.

The process for preauthorizing organ transplant is more extensive than the normal precertification process. Before your initial evaluation as a potential candidate for a transplant procedure, you or your doctor must contact GEHA's Care Management Department 800-821-6136

Dayton, Ohio (GEHA High Option): Which insurance plan covers weight loss programs and what documents are necessary in order for the insurance company to cover the weight loss programs?
Julie Browne: GEHA offers a free online program, Virtual Lifestyle Management program, to our health members who need to lose 30 or more pounds, or any member who has been diagnosed with a condition that is either caused or made worse by being overweight.  This program can be accessed through under the Health and Wellness tab.

Huachuca City, Arizona (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Plus): What is the coverage for hearing aids?
Julie Browne: GEHA's High or Standard option health plans do have a benefit of $2,500 for a pair of hearing aids. GEHA also offers to all members exclusive access to low prices on hearing aids through TruHearing.  You can save 30 percent to 60 percent off the average retail price of hearing aids. Learn more at

Colorado Springs Colorado (GEHA Standard Option): How do I know the price of my specialty medication?
Julie Browne: The full price cost depends on the prescribed specialty medication and prescribed dose/quantity.  Please call the CVS Specialty Pharmacy at 800.237.2767 for the most current and accurate pricing. 

Medon, Tennessee (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): How does GEHA's 2018 FEDVIP dental plan compare to other FEDVIP plans?
Julie Browne: We can only talk about our rates and benefits, but OPM provides an online tool to compare 2018 FEDVIP plans.

Jersey City, New Jersey Will I be contacted if my specialty medication will no longer be covered?
Julie Browne: Yes. If your current medication is changing, then CVS Specialty Pharmacy will call you and you will also receive a letter.

Granbury, Texas (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): Will dental implants be covered?
Julie Browne: Yes, implants are covered as a Class C service, and there is no waiting period. Implants are limited to $2,500 per covered person per year, included in the calendar year maximum.

Woodhaven, Michigan (GEHA HDHP Option):

I am retiring the end of the month and would like to know if GEHA pays any portion of the Part B Medicare premium or discounts its FEHB premium due to Part B becoming primary and GEHA secondary? My wife is only 64 and in good health. Our premium is Self plus One.

Julie Browne:
Congratulations on retirement! 

When you retire, GEHA does not pay a portion of your part B premium or discount your FEHB premium. However, you will receive several other great features when Medicare becomes primary. 

When you have GEHA’s Standard or High Option plan we will waive your copays, coinsurance and deductibles and you will have 100% coverage on most of your medical services.

This includes in- or out-of-network providers and even covers you if you are outside of the United States. You will just pay your prescription copays. See for additional details about how we work with Medicare. 

Cheyenne, Wyoming (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I am retiring very soon from federal service and would like to know if I can continue my dental insurance?
Julie Browne: Yes, Connection Dental Federal is for retirees, too. Your enrollment will automatically follow you into retirement. You shouldn't need to take any action. 

You will receive a letter from BENEFEDS informing you that they have been notified of your retirement and that your FEDVIP premiums will be deducted from your annuity once adjudication has been finalized.

If you do not receive this letter soon after your last pay period before retirement, call BENEFEDS customer service at 877.888.3337.

Van Buren, Arkansas (GEHA Standard Option): Will we ever see better benefits for chiropractic visits?
Julie Browne: In 2018! We have increased the limit for the manipulative therapy benefit from 12 to 20 visits per calendar year. See the plan brochure for more details.

Bennington, Nebraska (GEHA Standard Option): I am currently covered by Medicare parts A & B and also have a Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan. I am thinking about switching my plan to GEHA Standard Option because it would save me money and I am told that since I have Medicare parts A & B that there would be no advantage to the GEHA High Option plan since GEHA waives all deductibles if covered by Medicare. Is that correct?
Julie Browne:
You are correct that the GEHA Standard Option and High Option plans both waive copays, deductibles, and coinsurance with Medicare A & B as primary and both offer 100% coverage on most of your medical services. 

The only area that will differ between the GEHA Standard Option and the GEHA High Option would be regarding name brand medication coverage. For example, the High option offers up to an additional 35% coverage on preferred brand name medications.  

If you do not have any brand name medications then there would be no additional benefit in enrolling in the High Option over the Standard Option. 

Washington, DC (GEHA Standard Option): I understand that GEHA is updating preventive care medications to include low to moderate dose of certain generic statins for people between 40-75 years old. My cholesterol is well controlled on Crestor (which is not available in generic form); what are my options?
Julie Browne:
Actually, Crestor is available as a generic! Please discuss your statin options with your doctor.

St. Louis, Missouri (GEHA High Option): I am allergic to many medications. Will I be able to continue taking my specialty medication, as it is the only medication for my condition that doesn’t give me hives/rash/allergic reaction?
Julie Browne:
Please call the CVS Specialty Pharmacy at 800.237.6797 to learn more about coverage of your specialty medication for 2018. If there are any changes in coverage, there may be an opportunity for a medical-necessity review, which your physician can initiate through CVS Caremark.

Laurel, Maryland (GEHA Standard Option): Will I be covered when traveling outside the USA to the Philippines -- or any other Asian countries?
Julie Browne: Yes, your GEHA coverage travels with you. For your convenience, providers outside the United States are paid at the GEHA preferred provider rate for medically necessary covered services.

If you have Medicare Part A and Part B primary, GEHA waives the calendar-year deductible and coinsurance with both Standard Option and High Option plans when you receive medically necessary covered services, even when those services are received overseas.

Omaha, Nebraska (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): Does this dental insurance pay for any type of teeth whitening? If so, how much?
Julie Browne:
All GEHA members (dental and health) can receive a 20 percent discount off the lowest published price on all Smile Brilliant products – custom-fitted trays, teeth whitening gel and desensitizing gel. For your convenience, your Smile Brilliant kit is mailed to your home.

Make your upper and lower dental impressions – a simple process that takes about 10 minutes – and mail them back to the lab in the postage-prepaid envelope provided. Your handcrafted, customized trays are mailed back within eight business days.

New Orleans, Louisiana (GEHA Standard Option): Which statins will be covered with a $0 copay in 2018?
Julie Browne: Low and medium dose generic statins will be covered with a $0 copay.

If you would like to know if the statin that you are currently taking qualifies for a $0 copay, please call CVS Caremark at 844.443.4279.

Holtsville, New York (GEHA Standard Option): Hello. Regarding the $75 Health Rewards prepaid MasterCard, when does it expire? Is it a year from the issue date?
Julie Browne: You should try to use your Health Rewards prepaid MasterCard within 12 months. Starting with month 13, your Health Rewards prepaid MasterCard is charged a $5 monthly account maintenance fee, which continues each month until the card balance is $0.

Trimble, Missouri (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I am switching the plan to my husband. Will there be a grace period before we are able to use the plan?
Julie Browne: No. There is no waiting period for services on the GEHA Connection Dental Federal High Option plan.

Conover, North Carolina (GEHA Standard Option): Is there any plan at GEHA to reward us senior players to stay healthy by joining a exercise club such as YMCA or a fitness club to workout daily and stay in good health? Some private corporations provide for their retirees a monthly plan to exercise, such as Silver Sneakers, at no cost to the retirees.
Julie Browne: We value your input and want to keep our members satisfied with all aspects of their GEHA experience. We have researched Silver Sneakers, and it is not currently a cost-effective choice for our membership. As with all benefits, we look for good value while also working to control costs and premiums.

All GEHA health plans include Connection Fitness, which offers preferred pricing on memberships at fitness centers across the United States.

Wilmington, Delaware (GEHA Standard Option): Hello and thank you for taking time to read and respond to my question. I'm now retired. It appears that many of my health care providers don't accept GEHA and some claim that they've never heard of the plan. Are there any plans to expand the network of providers to GEHA members ? Also, are GEHA members required to go on Medicare at age 65 ? Thanks in advance for your reply.
Julie Browne:
For 2018, GEHA members will have access to over one million in-network providers across all 50 states. Since GEHA is a federal government only health plan and uses a contracted provider network, some medical providers may not recognize the GEHA name.

If this occurs be sure to mention which GEHA provider network you are covered under. This will be listed on your GEHA member ID card. In 2018 our members will be using either the Aetna Signature Administrators Network, United HealthCare Options PPO Network, or United Healthcare Choice Plus Network.  

Additionally, GEHA members are not required to go on Medicare at age 65. If you do choose to join both Medicare A & B and have retired from federal service, GEHA will waive your copays, deductibles and coinsurance, and you will have 100% coverage on most medical services. 

Stamford, Connecticut (GEHA High Option): Does GEHA have a Nurseline?
Julie Browne: Yes, GEHA provides our medical plan members with access to a registered nurse any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through our Health Advice Line.

Call 888.257.4342 to ask a nurse about your symptoms, and the nurse will help you to determine an appropriate method of treatment.

Naperville, Illinois (GEHA High Option): How do I contact CVS Specialty Pharmacy with questions about the new specialty formulary?
Julie Browne: You can reach CVS Specialty Pharmacy at 800.237.2767.

Raleigh, North Carolina (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): Which of your plans offer benefits pertaining to treatment from an orthodontist? My son needs braces, and I was wondering which plan, if any, offer orthodontist care. Thank you.
Julie Browne: All of our dental plans offer orthodontic benefits. The best fit for your family would depend on your other dental needs. Please visit our Choose & Compare tool to determine which plan is right for you and your family.

Greensboro, North Carolina (GEHA Standard Option): Can I spend my Health Rewards points earned (beyond the initial $75 placed on the prepaid MasterCard) on coinsurance, copays and other qualified medical and/or dental expenses?
Julie Browne:
When you complete the health risk assessment, you will receive a $75 prepaid MasterCard. You can use that $75 toward copays, medical and/or dental expenses, or you can use those initial $75 in Health Rewards points at the online FSA Store.

An additional 175 points can be earned beyond that initial $75 MasterCard. However, the additional 175 points will need to be spent at the online FSA Store. You will receive an email from the FSA Store when your points have been awarded. It can take up to 4 weeks from when you’ve earned your Health Rewards points before your points are awarded in the online store.

You can participate in the Health Rewards program annually. If you are registering for Health Rewards for the first time, go to, click "Register New Account" and follow the directions. After you are registered, click the Health Assessment button. It takes about 10 minutes to complete the health assessment. You’ll receive a Wellness Report when the health assessment is completed.

For more information, click Health Rewards program.

Paducah, Texas Under Medicare and Self Plus One, which is better: High Option or Standard Option?
Julie Browne: Both options automatically coordinate benefits with Medicare so you can retire with confidence. As for which is the "better" option, it depends on your specific circumstances. With either the High Option or Standard Option:
  • Most copays and deductibles are waived. For covered inpatient and outpatient hospital services, surgeries and office visits, your cost is $0.
  • GEHA waives copays and deductibles whether your provider is in or out of network.
  • If you need medical care while you're outside the United States, copays and deductibles are still waived.
The difference is in prescription coverage. The High Option provides more comprehensive prescription coverage. Additional resources to help you decide can be found at

Lynn Haven, Florida Does your dental plan for 2018 include vision?
Julie Browne:

Yes, our dental plans includes vision for no extra premium.

Benefits include:

  • Annual eye exam for only a $5 copay when you visit an Eyemed provider
  • Access to thousands of network providers
  • Preferred pricing with fixed discounts for lenses, lens options, frames, and more
  • No limit on number of discounted glasses or contacts
  • Savings on surgical procedures, including LASIK, at participating locations

Learn more at

Iron Mountain, Michigan (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): When you retire in the middle of the year, does the cost of insurance increase or does it stay the same for that year?
Julie Browne: Your annual cost will remain the same. However, the frequency of payment will change -- going from biweekly to monthly.

Lincoln, Nebraska (Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): Does this dental plan cover dentures?
Julie Browne: Yes, both our High Option and our Standard Option dental plans cover dentures as a Class C service.

Salisbury, North Carolina (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): How do I get a comparison chart of some kind to compare GEHA with other FEHB plans? Thanks.
Julie Browne: OPM offers a plan comparison tool on their website at

Akron, Ohio (GEHA Standard Option): I would like to lose weight. Does GEHA have any programs that could help?
Julie Browne: Exercise and nutrition are key players when it comes to losing weight and maintaining health. Managing your weight can be tough. GEHA offers an online weight management program that can help our health plan members:
  • understand and overcome their barriers to losing weight
  • learn and practice proper nutrition
  • develop effective ways to gradually and safely increase their physical activity; and
  • eat foods they enjoy in the comfort of their own home.

Sanford, North Carolina (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): Is it possible to get an EOB for prescriptions? I get an EOB for both medical care and dental care. But, not for prescriptions. I have Medicare part D with Silver Script as primary. I often pay a different amount for the same prescription and I don't know why.
Julie Browne: Yes, EOBs are available for prescriptions by contacting CVS Caremark Customer Care at 844.4.GEHARX (844.443.4279). You may also review and print your prescription history at if you have created a user profile.

Fresno, California (Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): What is your best dental plan for getting my teeth repaired?
Julie Browne:

The best dental plan would depend on your needs. If you have many dental needs, then GEHA's FEDVIP High Option plan might be your best pick. If you have moderate dental issues that need to be addressed immediatley, then the GEHA FEDVIP Standard Plan would be the best option.

Finally, if you have moderate dental issues that are not immediate, then you might want to consider Connection Dental Plus, GEHA's supplemental dental plan (which is not a FEDVIP plan).  

Overland Park, Kansas (GEHA Standard Option): I have high blood pressure. How often should I see my doctor?
Julie Browne:
Your doctor will want to monitor your blood pressure after starting medication to treat your high blood pressure. Don’t stop taking your medications without discussing it with your physician. Plan to see your physician regularly to assess the effectiveness of your medication.

While managing your blood pressure, GEHA's HealthBalance portal offers many resources to our valued members, including:
  • online wellness workshops such as the Hypertension Workshop; you can earn Health Rewards points for your participation;
  • a convenient blood pressure log; and
  • exercise and food trackers that provide daily and/or weekly totals for comparison.
You can earn a $75 prepaid MasterCard for completing a personal health assessment, which provides a snapshot of your overall health.

You can also schedule a free biometric screening and earn $75 in Health Rewards. Even if you are healthy, knowing your numbers can give you a baseline to compare yourself against in the future. To schedule a free screening at your home or workplace, call our health screening partner, ExamOne, at 888.234.1314.

Hobart, Indiana (GEHA Standard Option): I'm interested in switching from my current health plan to GEHA Standard Option plan, but my husband has some health issues, such as seizure disorder. Do you feel GEHA can offer better coverage? Very unhappy my current plan's prescription coverage.
Julie Browne: Choosing your insurance plan is an important decision. I recommend that you consider the premium rates as well as evaluate the price for each of the medications you and your family members take on a regular basis. On GEHA's Prescriptions webpage, there is My Drug Costs tool to help you do just that! If you prefer, you may call GEHA's dedicated prescription benefit line at 844.443.4279 to speak with a Customer Care Representative who can assist you with a cost estimate. Good luck with your decision.

Gaithersburg, Maryland (GEHA Standard Option): I will be age 65 in February. I want to learn about how FEHB interacts with Medicare. In the GEHA brochure, there are examples based on whether GEHA or Medicare is primary. My wife is also covered on my Self Plus One plan. She is not yet 65. Does this determine whether I would designate GEHA or Medicare as primary?
Julie Browne:
There are several factors that can determine if GEHA or Medicare is primary. Page 108 of the 2018 GEHA Standard/High option brochure highlights many of those situations.  

In general, if you are the GEHA member carrying the federal health plan it is your employment status with the federal government that will determine whether GEHA or Medicare will be primary.

Your spouse not yet turning 65 will not affect whether Medicare or GEHA will be primary on you. I would recommend you also watch some of our Medicare and Retirement videos at to learn more. 

Milledgeville, Georgia (GEHA Standard Option): Do this insurance pay for yearly mammograms? Can I sign up for just health insurance, not the dental or vision?
Julie Browne:

Yes, routine mammograms are covered at 100%, no deductible will apply at in-network providers for both our Standard Option and High Option plans.  The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women ages 50 to 74 should get a mammogram every two years.  

Note: 3D mammograms are not considered routine preventive care screening tests.

You can sign up for health insurance by itself. Your medical benefit has basic dental coverage and vision for no additional charge. This will include 2 dental cleaning per year; however this is not a comprehensive coverage.

Vision is provided through EyeMed ( The vision plan provides comprehensive eye exams ($5 copay at in-network providers) and discounts for lenses, frames and contacts.

Rochester, New York (GEHA Standard Option): I have only had 1 A1C done this year. Does GEHA pay for more than one A1C per year?
Julie Browne: I’m so glad to hear that you have had an A1C test this year. If you have the GEHA Standard Option or High Option health plan and use your Lab Card, GEHA pays outpatient laboratory testing at 100 percent. With Lab Card, you would pay nothing for another A1C test.

To find a listing of Lab Card provider locations, visit or call 800.646.7788.

Franklin, North Carolina (GEHA Standard Option): I am planning on retiring 12/31/17 and do not have vision at this time. Can I apply in open season and be accepted. Any options on how to proceed.
Julie Browne:
If you are a GEHA member and have any of our medical or dental plans we do include a basic vision plan from EyeMed for no extra cost.

This plan provides exams for a $5 copay and discounts on your lenses and frames. A summary of the coverage can be found at .  

If you still need to add additional vision coverage you can select an additional FEDVIP vision plan at during Open Season.

Tucson, Arizona (GEHA High Option): What is a specialty medication? How do I know if I'm taking one?
Julie Browne: Specialty medications are pharmaceuticals that might be biotech or biological drugs. They are oral, injectable or infused and/or may require special handling. They are used in the treatment of severe, chronic medical conditions.

For more information, please visit or contact CVS Caremark at 844.443.4279.

Tampa, Florida (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): Hello. I would like to enroll in a GEHA dental plan for orthodontic treatment for adults.
Julie Browne: GEHA offers adult orthodontics on both the GEHA FEDVIP High and Standard Plans. There is no waiting period on the High Option, and there is a 12-month waiting period on the Standard Option.

Hernando, Florida (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): When are the dates that I can make changes to my health plan?
Julie Browne: You can make changes right now! Open Season, the period where you can make changes to your health and dental plans, started yesterday (November 13) and ends on Monday, December 11.

Louisville, Kentucky (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): What is telemedicine?
Julie Browne: With telemedicine, GEHA health plan members can speak with a physician from your home, office or on the go 24/7/365. The Board-certified doctors can visit with you either by phone or secure video to help treat many non-emergency medical conditions. The doctors can diagnose your symptoms, prescribe medication and send prescriptions to your pharmacy of choice.

Call 888.257.4342 and ask to speak with a doctor.

Norfolk, Virginia (GEHA High Option): What specialty medications are preferred by GEHA?
Julie Browne: For a complete list, click Comprehensive Specialty Pharmacy Drug List or call the CVS Specialty Pharmacy at 800.237.2767 for specific details regarding your specialty medication.

Glendale , California (GEHA Standard Option): I am interested in enrolling in GEHA's Standard Opion health plan for 2018. I am an annuitant (surviving spouse). I did not enroll in Medicare Part B when I turned 65 in 2006. I am 76 now. I may consider enrolling in Part B in 2018, even though I will have a heavy penalty to pay in addition to the premium.

I am trying to figure out what benefit will I get if I were to have Part B. Thanks in advance, I look forward to your professional guidance.
Julie Browne:
Thank you for your interest in joining GEHA! If you were to select GEHA’s Standard Option with both Medicare A & B, GEHA will waive your copays, deductibles and coinsurance and for most medical services you will have 100% coverage.  

Generally, you will only pay your prescription copays. This applies to both in- and out-of-network providers. It is an excellent program that makes health care in retirement very easy and predictable.

Tulsa, Oklahoma (GEHA Standard Option): I would like to have my cholesterol checked this year. Does GEHA provide a way for me to do this?
Julie Browne: GEHA offers a biometric screening at no cost to our health members. The biometric screening is performed by a health examiner and includes blood pressure, pulse, height, weight, cholesterol panel, creatinine and A1C.

If you participate in GEHA's free Health Rewards program, you’ll earn 75 points when you complete your biometric screening with ExamOne. Health Rewards points can be redeemed for health-related items at the online FSA Store.

Rockville, Maryland (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): When it says that the plan for Class C procedures cover 50% of the allowed cost; how can I find out what the allowed cost is for the procedures I need?
Julie Browne: Good question! Check our online Dental Procedure Pricing tool. It will let you look up the plan's maximum allowable for many common dental procedures.

Kansas City, Missouri (GEHA Standard Option):

If I am already enrolled in the health plan from 2017 do I need to re-enroll for 2018? Or will my coverage continue with the new benefits for 2018? Thx in advance.

Julie Browne:

If you do not want to make any changes to your current plan, you do not need to do anything. Your coverage will remain the same for 2018.

Kalispell, Montana (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): What is the Best Health Plan to have if I'm enrolled in Medicare parts A & B.
Julie Browne:
Many GEHA members with Medicare A & B who are retired find our Standard Option to be an excellent value. It has very low monthly premiums for retirees. For 2018 it is just $119.03 per month for self only and $255.92 per month for self plus one.

When you have Medicare A & B as primary this plan will waive your copays, coinsurance, and deductibles and you will have 100% coverage on most of your medical services. This includes in or out of network providers and even if you are outside of the United States. It makes healthcare in retirement very easy and worry-free.

Brooks, Georgia (GEHA High Option): Does the $10 copay for generic prescriptions apply regardless of the cost of the prescription? For example, several of my current prescriptions usually run less than $1 each, so does this mean that I would still have to pay $10 for the prescription rather than what I've been paying?
Julie Browne:
If the cost of your prescription is less than the flat-dollar copay, then you are responsible only for the total prescription cost – or the lesser amount. This applies to both mail-order and retail benefits.

Silver Spring, Maryland (GEHA Standard Option):

My spouse is currently pregnant. What benefits does GEHA offer during pregnancy?

Julie Browne:

Congratulations! GEHA's Standard Option and High Option health plans cover routine maternity care at 100%.

GEHA also has a Maternity Program that offers a maternity resource packet to our expectant mothers. This packet includes information on pregnancy and prenatal care as well as information about your maternity benefits. To order your packet, click Maternity Resource Packet order form.

Our Maternity Resources webpage also offers details on how to order a breast pump that is covered by your GEHA health plan.

You can earn Health Rewards points for visiting your physician within the first trimester of your pregnancy. A first-trimester doctor visit is the foundation for effective prenatal care and can help ensure mother and baby's good health in the important early stages of pregnancy. After you have scheduled your appointment, follow these simple instructions to earn 100 Health Rewards points: Download the Maternity Health Rewards form, print it, and take it to your first-trimester doctor appointment. Ask your doctor to complete, sign and date the form.

Lakewood, Washington (Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): On your FEDVIP dental plan, what is the difference between Standard Option and High Option? How would the High Option benefit my wife and I?
Julie Browne: You can use our Choose & Compare Plans tool to see the High Option and Standard Option benefits side by side. If you and/or wife have extensive dental work to be done, you might benefit from the High Option's Calendar Year Maximum Benefit of $35,000 per covered person.

Denver , Colorado (GEHA High Option): Sometimes it is difficult to find a doctor who accepts Medicare. When I retire, if I have Medicare A and B and keep GEHA for Medigap and prescription drugs, do I have to use doctors who take Medicare, or can I use a GEHA network doctor and then pay the difference between the Medicare rate and the doctor's charge? In other words, because Medicare part B would be primary, what happens if I submit a doctor's charge to Medicare/GEHA who has not agreed to Medicare rates. Maybe, if a doctor who accepts Medicare is scarce, it is better to just have Medicare part A and GEHA?
Julie Browne:
If you have Medicare A & B, and have GEHA as your secondary you are not required to use doctors who take Medicare.

However, I would not recommend using a physician who has “opted-out” of Medicare as this can result in a potentially high out-of-pocket cost because FEHB law requires GEHA to base our payments on the Medicare-approved amount regardless if the physician has "opted out." Just having Medicare part A would not change this.

In comparison, if you used a Medicare participating provider, you'd receive 100% coverage between both Medicare and GEHA’s coverage. Please see pages 109 and 110 of the GEHA 2018 Standard and High Option plan brochure for additional details.

Tampa, Florida (GEHA Standard Option): What does a baby friendly hospital mean and how is that different from the other hospitals in the in-network coverage?
Julie Browne:

Baby-Friendly USA Inc. is the accrediting body for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States. They are hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.

Click for a list of in-network Baby-Friendly Hospitals.

Chattanooga, Tennessee I'm shopping around for a new health plan in 2018, and it seems like GEHA is one of the lowest-cost options? Is that accurate, or am I overlooking something?
Julie Browne: Thanks for considering GEHA as your health plan for 2018. We do work hard to keep our premiums affordable and competitive. I can't compare our rates directly to the other FEHB plans, but OPM provides a great online 2018 FEHB plan comparison tool.

Merriam, Kansas (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): If I am not changing plans in 2018, do I still need to do anything or contact someone during Open Season? I am very happy with what I have now. Thank you.
Julie Browne: If you do nothing during Open Season, your FEHB health plan and/or FEDVIP dental plan will be renewed automatically. I'm  glad to hear you're happy with your GEHA health and dental plans. Thank you for your continued membership.

Port Orchard, Washington (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Plus, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I want to know more about Connection Dental Plus.
Julie Browne:
Connection Dental Plus, GEHA's supplemental dental plan, provides coverage for a full range of dental services. It is not a FEDVIP plan. 

Connection Dental Plus lets you continue coverage for dependent children up to age 26, and you don't have to wait until Open Season to join. Enrollment is open year-round to all current and former FEHB eligible federal employees – including those who do not join a GEHA health plan.

For more, please visit, where you can obtain a plan brochure and premium pricing.

Las Cruces, New Mexico Where can I use my Health Rewards prepaid MasterCard?
Julie Browne:

Your Health Rewards prepaid MasterCard can be used for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses and health-related items at the FSA online store.

The card cannot be used at any retailers such as CVS, Target or Wal-Mart.

It can be used at free-standing vision centers such as Discover Vision Centers or LensCrafters.

Your prepaid MasterCard can be used to purchase mail-order medications with CVS.

Bethesda, Maryland (GEHA Standard Option): For the past 3 years, I've had the "Self Only" GEHA insurance. I have been pleased with the coverage and the customer service GEHA offers. I am planning to add my family to my coverage for 2018. As of what date will my family be covered by GEHA? Are there any limitations for coverage for family members based on preexisting conditions?
Julie Browne:

Changes made during Open Season will go into effect January 1 for retirees/annuitants. For active employees, it goes into effect the first day of the first full pay period of 2018. 

GEHA does not have a pre-existing condition clause. We will not refuse to cover the treatment of a condition you had before you enrolled in this plan, solely because you had the condition before you enrolled.

Bethesda, Maryland (GEHA Standard Option): Are there any changes in GEHA coverage for a retiree who is eligible for Medicare Part B but chooses not to enroll? Is the coverage the same as for an employee who is not retired and is younger than 65?
Julie Browne:
If you have GEHA’s Standard or High Option health plans your coverage levels (copays, coinsurance, and deductibles) will remain the same if you do not choose to take Medicare Part B.

It would be the same coverage levels as an employee who is not retired and is younger than 65. However, under FEHB law for physician services we are required to base our payments on the Medicare-approved amount. Please see page 109 of the 2018 GEHA Benefit plan brochure for additional details. 

If you do select both Medicare part A & B, GEHA will waive your copays and deductibles and you will have 100% coverage on most medical services for both in and out of network providers.

Milledgeville, Georgia (GEHA Standard Option): Does GEHA pay for the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix? Thanks.
Julie Browne: Although you are able to receive the Shingrix vaccine from your physician, you receive a better benefit from your local retail pharmacy. From a pharmacy, you would have a zero copay for age 50 & up. If your doctor administers the shot, you would pay a copayment if you are age 50 thru 59, and zero copay for age 60 and up. Shingrix is not covered for ages younger than 50.

Please check with your pharmacy to verify availability.

Rocklin, California Will our premiums go up? What are the changes to coverage on the health plan?
Julie Browne:

For 2018, our High Option health plan will see a 2.1% increase for Self Only, a 2.6% increase for Self Plus One, and a 2.5% increase for Self and Family. All of our Standard Option health plans and our High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) options will see a 2% increase. You can find our 2018 health plan premiums here.

Here are a few of our health plan benefit changes for 2018:

  • Our Urgent Care benefit has changed to a single $35 copay for all services received during an urgent care visit.
  • Coverage includes 20 spinal manipulation visits per year (an increase from 12). 
  • Hearing aid users are covered for up to $2,500 per pair under GEHA’s Standard Option and High Option plans.
To see a complete list of health plan changes, please refer to your 2018 plan brochure (available at

Tacoma, Washington (GEHA Standard Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I am considering switching to the GEHA Standard Option health plan this year and am wondering if you have a large presence in the rest of the country. Specifically, when I retire next year, I will be spending some time in Florida and want to know if there are enough doctors signed up with GEHA to make good selections there? Thanks.
Julie Browne: Yes, GEHA has a nationwide network, including many doctors in Florida.

If you know what part of Florida you'll be visiting, you can plug that City or Zip code into our online Provider Search to see all of the in-network GEHA providers in that area. The online tool also allows you to print a personalized directory.

Please remember that if you have Medicare A&B primary, you can choose any provider for your care. Medicare and GEHA together will pay 100% of your costs for covered services during doctor visits, surgical care, lab services and hospitalization, in or out-of-network.

Palm Coast, Florida (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): Will you still have the vision plan as part of the dental plan for the 2018 enrollment? Thanks.
Julie Browne:

Yes. If you are a GEHA dental plan member (or a GEHA health plan member), you get vision coverage for no additional premium. Through Connection Vision® powered by EyeMed, you and your covered family members each pay a $5 copay for an annual eye exam when you use a qualified EyeMed participating provider.

Connection Vision also offers you savings on lenses, frames, and specialty items such as tints, scratch coating, polycarbonate lenses and surgical procedures (including LASIK) at participating EyeMed locations. To learn more, visit

Park Falls, Wisconsin (GEHA Standard Option): Can you explain a little bit to me about how the GEHA HDHP works? That plan allows you to have a HSA, correct? We don't frequent the doctor so I am wondering if we may be better off to go that route? I need some guidance. There are only three of us in the family: my husband, my daughter (age 13) and myself. 
Julie Browne:
GEHA Health Savings Advantage is a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) designed to work with a health savings account (HSA) to help you take greater control over how you spend your health care dollars. It offers the following:
  • Health care expenses may be covered by money saved in an HSA – money GEHA deposits for you plus money you may also contribute.
  • You get unlimited adult preventive care paid at 100% with in-network doctors. For most other health care, you pay the first $1,500 each year (or $3,000 for Self Plus One or Self and Family). After you pay that deductible, GEHA pays 95% of most in-network care.
  • Vision care is covered for no additional premium.*
  • Money in your HSA earns tax-free interest.
  • No taxes on GEHA's contributions to your HSA.
  • You may take a tax deduction on your personal contributions.
  • No taxes on HSA withdrawals for eligible medical expenses.
  • GEHA pays your HSA set-up fee and monthly bank fees.
GEHA deposits a portion of your regular health plan premium into your HSA each month. GEHA bases its contribution on the effective date of your enrollment. When you enroll at Open Season and stay in the plan all year, GEHA will contribute $750 during the year for Self Only enrollment, or $1,500 during the year for Self Plus One or Self and Family enrollment. You can also add your own funds to your HSA. As you need medical care during the year, you can use the money in your HSA to pay out-of-pocket expenses. Unused money in your account and the interest it earns rolls over at the end of each year and continues to grow.

Our interactive online tool, Keypath, can help you research and compare plans and estimate your annual health care costs to find the plan that is right for you. Visit to give it a try.

Los Angeles, California (GEHA High Option): I am looking at the Standard Option health plan for 2018. On dental diagnostic/preventive, what does 50% of allowance, 2 times/year mean?
Julie Browne: Our plan allowance is the amount we use to determine our payment and your coinsurance for covered services. For covered diagnostic and preventive dental services, GEHA's Standard Option health plan will pay 50% of the plan allowance up to two times per calendar year per person on your plan.

So, if you go twice a year to get your regular dental check-up, a portion of that bill from your dentist will be paid by your FEHB health plan. If you are enrolled in a FEDVIP dental plan, your FEDVIP plan would pay after your FEHB plan paid. This is known as coordination of benefits.

Clarkfield, Minnesota (Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) Standard): I signed up for the basic dental plan recently. Yesterday I received a notice in the mail that looked as if I had mistakenly enrolled in a GEHA vision plan. Do I need to contact my HR department and correct something, or is the material that was sent to me more like an advertisement/coupon?
Julie Browne:

All GEHA dental and health plans include vision coverage. Through Connection Vision® powered by EyeMed, you and your covered family members each pay a $5 copay for an annual eye exam when you use a qualified EyeMed participating provider. Or, if you use a provider that does not participate, EyeMed will reimburse you up to $45 for an annual routine eye exam.

Learn more at

Boston, Massachusetts Can I add a spouse to my dental plan even if they are not on my regular health insurance plan?
Julie Browne: Yes, you can. Your spouse can be covered under a GEHA Connection Dental Federal plan without being covered under a GEHA health plan.

Phoenix, Arizona (GEHA Standard Option): Where can I go to get a flu shot that is covered by the GEHA Standard Option plan?
Julie Browne: Your flu shot is covered as a preventive service at 100% at an in-network provider.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older get an annual flu shot. The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year.

GEHA health members can get their flu shots at multiple locations, including your in-network primary care doctor’s office, most pharmacies and walk-in medical clinics such as MinuteClinic.

Grand Prairie, Texas (GEHA High Option, Connection Dental Federal (FEDVIP) High): I will be turning 65 next year, should I get Medicare and if I do will my premiums for or GEHA go down?
Julie Browne: The choice for enrolling in Medicare is yours. The FEHB does not require you to take Medicare. However, if you are retired and select both Medicare A & B and have GEHA’s Standard or High Option medical plans, GEHA will waive your plan’s copays and deductibles and you will have 100% coverage on most medical services.  

This applies to both in and out of network providers. Generally, the only copays you will pay will be on prescriptions.  This makes health care in retirement very easy. Your GEHA health plan premiums remain the same whether or not you have Medicare or you are retired.

Fort Collins, Colorado (GEHA Standard Option): Will there be any changes to the Health Rewards program in 2018?
Julie Browne:
We're excited to bring back our popular Health Rewards program for health members, which is available for two adult members per household.

Health Rewards provides incentives for health members who complete simple and convenient health screenings. This includes rewards up to a total of $250 for the following activities: 

  • Completion of the yearly health risk assessment $75 Health Rewards Mastercard
  • Completion of the yearly biometric screening $75 in Health Rewards points
  • Preventive screenings such as mammograms or colorectal cancer screenings, completion of wellness portal classes and activities like weight or stress management, smoking cessation and tracking fitness activities $100 in Health Rewards points.
The money you earn can be used to help you live healthier throughout the year. Your Health Rewards savings card can be spent on qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses as well as health-related items at