Veterans May Choose Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits and Medicare
As a Medicare-eligible Veteran, you have options when it comes to healthcare. You will find information that all Veterans should know when they become Medicare eligible. To confirm your options call the VA directly 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
Call 888-654-3129 today to schedule a time to discuss Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan options for:
- Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan,
- Medicare Advantage Plans and
- Medicare Part D Plan Prescription Drug Plans.
Choose from the top Medicare Carriers. See your plan options from Aetna, Humana, AARP and UnitedHealthCare.
Veteran’s Affair (VA) Benefits and Medicare
Although the VA Veteran’s Affair (VA) and Medicare are both Government Health Programs and if you are eligible for both, it is important to know your options.
You can have both Medicare and VA benefits. However, Medicare and VA benefits do not work together. Medicare does not pay for any care that you receive at a VA facility.
- VA plans only cover care at VA facilities,
- Medicare only covers care at Medicare assigned facilities.
- The VA and Medicare plans do not overlap.
Enroll in Medicare Part A If You Have VA Benefits
Both Medicare and the VA suggest you should enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. You can have both Medicare and VA benefits at the same time and this is recommended. It is strongly recommended that all veteran seniors enroll in Medicare Part A (Hospital Coverage) and usually there is no additional cost. This will allow you receive hospital coverage should you go to a non-VA facility. According to the VA’s website “[We] encourage you to keep your private [Medicare] health insurance.”
Medicare Part B If You Have VA Benefits
Although it’s not absolutely necessary, it is strongly recommended that any Medicare eligible Veteran enroll in Medicare Part B (Medical Coverage, Dr’s, other outpatient services, etc).
There is usually a monthly fee for Part B but it is worth it. If your VA Benefits are dropped at some point or, and this is important, if your local VA facility does not cover all health services, you could pay 100% out of pocket for a serious illness. The VA highly recommends that you enroll in Part B as well.
Many veterans use their VA health benefits to get coverage for health care services and items not covered by Medicare, such as over-the-counter medications and annual physical exams.
However, you may want to consider enrolling into Medicare Part B (medical insurance), even if you have VA coverage. Part B may cover services you receive from Medicare-certified providers and provide you with medical coverage outside the VA health system. In addition, if you do not enroll into Part B when you are first eligible to do so, you will most likely incur a Part B premium penalty for each 12-month period you were without Medicare Part B coverage. In addition, you may also experience gaps in coverage.
Please contact Veterans Affairs directly (1-877-222 8387) with questions about specific care at your local facility.
Some say Veterans will not need a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan (Medigap plan) if they qualify for VA benefits. It is important to consider the option of Medicare with a Medigap plan will fill in the gaps such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance, as well as other benefits when seeking care outside of the VA, or outside of the U.S. and its territories.
Here are just a few reasons why Veterans may consider enrolling in a private Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan:
- You do not live near a VA facility
- You are enrolled in one of the VA lower priority groups, and could potentially lose your benefits*
- Option to use local Doctors and Hospitals
*“There is no guarantee that in subsequent years Congress will appropriate sufficient funds for VA to provide care for all enrollment Priority Groups. This could happen if you are enrolled in one of the lower Priority Groups. This would leave you with no health care coverage.” Source: VA.gov website.
Buy a Medigap policy or Medicare Advantage Plan (part C) when you’re first eligible
The best time to buy a Medigap policy or Medicare Advantage Plan Part C is during your 7-month Medicare open enrollment period. During that time you can buy any Medigap policy or Medicare Advantage Plan Part C in your state, even if you have health problems. This period automatically starts the month you’re 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). After this enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medigap policy. If you’re able to buy one, it may cost more.
During Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
Medigap insurance companies are generally allowed to use medical underwriting to decide whether to accept your application and how much to charge you for the Medigap policy. However, even if you have health problems, during your Medigap open enrollment period you can buy any policy the company sells for the same price as people with good health.