Medicare can be beneficial for Veterans. As you know, Veteran benefits only apply to Veterans’ facilities and doctors. So, if you want to see a civilian doctor, Medicare can help with some of the costs. Having both Medicare and Veterans benefits gives you the opportunity to see a wide range of doctors and specialists. The Veterans Association recommends you enroll in Part A and B when you’re first eligible. Below we’re going to go over everything you need to know about Medicare and Veterans Administration benefits.
Should I Get Part A if I have Veterans Benefits?
Most people get premium-free Part A benefits. Those that contribute to Medicare taxes for 10 or more years are eligible. 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 I Need Part B if I have Veterans Benefits?
While Part B is NOT mandatory, the Veterans Administration strongly recommends you still enroll. Delaying enrollment in Part B will result in a late enrollment penalty should you need the coverage in the future. This is because the Veterans’ benefits are not considered creditable coverage under Medicare.
Medicare will provide coverage outside a Veterans facility, this can come in handy in the case your Veteran benefits are dropped or if your local Veteran facility does not cover all your health services, you could pay up to 100% of your medical costs out of pocket if you don’t enroll in Part B.
Medicare Advantage and Veterans Administration 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. Some plans may include prescription drug coverage. Depending on the service area, an Advantage plan could include telehealth, dental, vision, and a gym membership.
Although, it’s not realistic to expect comprehensive benefits from this type of policy. You can expect to pay more out of pocket as you use these benefits than you would with a Medigap plan. If you can’t afford a Medigap policy or if you don’t qualify, Medicare Advantage is better than nothing.
Part D for Veterans
Even though you can get prescriptions through the Veterans Administration, sometimes it’s more convenient to have Part D. For example if a civilian doctor prescribes a medication, the Veterans Administration doctor needs to approve the medication for the Veterans Administration 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.
Do I Need a Medicare Supplement if I Have Veterans 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 the extra coverage you’ve been looking for.
Those that don’t live close to a Veterans facility or want to use local doctors would reap many benefits from a Medigap plan. Also, if you’re in a low priority group you should consider Medigap, especially for those with a higher income that could find it difficult to obtain insurance if Veterans 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.
When should I use Veterans benefits vs. Medicare?
Veterans Administration 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 Veterans facility, you’re going to want Medicare coverage.
Do disabled veterans need Medicare?
While it’s not mandatory, the Veterans Administration 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.
Who Pays First, Medicare, or the Veterans Administration?
The simple answer to the question of who pays first is both. When you go to the Veterans facilities, the only coverage you have is Veterans Administration coverage. Then, when you go to civilian facilities, you only have Medicare coverage. Unless, of course, you enroll in Medigap.
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