Medicare can be beneficial for Veterans. As you know, Veteran benefits only apply to VA facilities and doctors. So, if you want to see a civilian doctor, Medicare can help with some of the costs.
VA benefits and Medicare don’t work together. But, having both gives you the opportunity to see a wide range of doctors and specialists.
The Veterans Association recommends you enroll in Medicare Part A and B when you’re first eligible.
Of course, every veteran has a unique situation and the best policy for your buddy, isn’t always the best for you.
Below we’re going to go over EVERYTHING you need to know about Medicare and VA benefits.
Do I Need a Medicare Supplement if I Have VA Benefits
Many people think paying a premium when you already have Veterans benefits is unnecessary. While Medigap could be over-insurance for some, for others it could be a solution.
Those that don’t live close to a VA facility or want to use local doctors would reap many benefits on Medigap. Also, if you’re in a low priority group you should consider Medigap, especially those with a higher income that could find it difficult to obtain insurance if VA benefits were gone.
A Medicare Supplement is a policy that covers the portion of Medicare you’d otherwise be responsible for paying. Such as deductibles and coinsurances. Some Medigap plans even cover the Part B excess charges.
Depending on your health and budget, the Medigap Plan N could be beneficial to add to VA benefits.
Tip: Lots of agents want to sell you their policy. We work with top carriers nationwide so you can get the best policy.
Medicare Part A for Veterans
Most people get premium-free Part A benefits. Those that contribute to Medicare taxes for 10 or more years are eligible.
Those that are on disability for 2 years won’t need to meet Medicare’s tax contribution rules. If you’re getting premium-free Part A, taking the insurance would benefit you.
When an emergency happens, the VA hospital isn’t always an option. Having benefits at civilian facilities could save you thousands of dollars.
The real question here is, why wouldn’t you enroll in Part A?
Do You Need Medicare Part B if You Have VA Benefits
Part B does cost $144.60 a month, but if you want a Medigap or Advantage plan, you’re going to need BOTH parts of Medicare.
While Part B is NOT mandatory, the VA strongly recommends you to enroll. Delaying enrollment in Part B will result in a late enrollment penalty should you need the coverage in the future.
Further, after your initial eligibility, the General Enrollment Period from January 1 through March 31 is your only chance to enroll. Signing up during the General Enrollment Period means coverage will begin July 1.
Your best bet is to enroll when you’re first eligible. You can even elect to have the Part B premium come out of your social security check.
Then, Part B can help you pay for Durable Medical Equipment, civilian doctor visits, and so much more!
Medicare Advantage and VA Benefits
Many veterans are going to find Medicare Advantage a practical solution to coverage. Most plans boast a $0 premium and extra benefits beyond Medicare. Advantage plans are Part C of Medicare. Sometimes these plans include Part D coverage.
Depending on the service area, an Advantage plan could include medications, telehealth, dental, vision, and a gym membership. Although, it’s not realistic to expect comprehensive benefits from this type of policy.
Medicare Advantage plans are great if you know you’re not going to lose your VA benefits if the government cuts funding. Also, if you can’t afford a Medigap policy or if you don’t qualify, Medicare Advantage is better than nothing.
Tip: Medicare Advantage plans adjust benefits each year; if you choose one of these plans, prepare to investigate coverage options annually.
Medicare Part D for Veterans
Sure, you can get prescriptions through the VA. But, sometimes it’s more convenient to have Part D.
For example, if a civilian doctor prescribes a medication, the VA doctor needs to approve the medication for the VA to cover.
But, if you have Part D, you can go fill your prescription at a local drug store. If you do choose to delay Part D, there is no penalty since VA drug coverage is considered “creditable coverage” through Medicare. Although, the best time to have coverage is now.
Tip: If you don’t take any prescriptions, sign up for a low premium policy. Our Agents can help you find one in your area.
When to Use Your Veterans Benefits vs Medicare Coverage
VA benefits are only valid at Veteran facilities. Further, Medicare is only going to cover doctors that accept Medicare.
So, if you have a heart attack while grocery shopping and the nearest hospital isn’t a VA facility, you’re going to want Medicare coverage.
Also, those that end up in a civilian hospital are going to wish they have a Medigap or Advantage policy.
Tip: Some insurance is always going to be better than no insurance.
Veterans Dealing with a Disability Claim Appeal
If you’re a Veteran dealing with a disability claim appeal, there’s a new tool you can use. It shows where your appeal is in the line and how long to expect to wait!
The VA launched a new appeals status tracker so that Veterans with a compensation appeal can view their past and current appeals issues as well as receive alerts.
Medicare FAQ’s for Veterans
Do Disabled Veterans need Medicare?
While it’s not mandatory, the VA suggests all veterans, disabled or not, have Medicare. It’s especially beneficial to have Medicare when the need for civilian coverage arises.
You might be thinking you’re fine without it, but delaying Part B will result in penalty charges when you do enroll. Signing up for Medicare when you’re initially eligible is a smart move.
VA and Medicare, Who is Primary?
So, in a simple answer, both. When you go to the VA facilities, the only coverage you have is VA coverage. Then, when you go to civilian facilities, you only have Medicare coverage. Unless of course, you enroll in Medigap.
Thank You for Your Service, We Would Love the Opportunity to Help You!
It’s important to note that those with TRICARE benefits MUST have Part A and B. If you’re a veteran looking for help with your Medicare, you’ve come to the right place.
Our agents have experience helping people just like you navigate the murky waters of Medicare. Give us a call at the number above and learn about the policy options in your area.
An agent will ask you a few questions about current coverage and budget. Then, based on the information you provide, we’ll help you identify the top options for you.
Once you choose the policy, your agent will walk you through the application over the phone.
We represent the top insurance carriers in the nation. Don’t call each company individually, give one agent a call and get all your quotes in one spot!
If you can’t call right now, we understand. Fill out our online rate form and see what options are available to you!