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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. Having both Medicare and VA 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 VA benefits.
Should I Get Part A if I have Veterans Benefits?
Do I Need Part B if I have Veterans Benefits?
While Part B is NOT mandatory, the VA 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 VA benefits are not considered creditable coverage under Medicare. Medicare will provide coverage outside a VA facility, this can come in handy in the case your VA benefits are dropped or if your local VA 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 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. 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 VA, 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.
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 the extra coverage you’ve been looking for.
Those that don’t live close to a VA 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 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.
When should I use Veterans benefits vs Medicare?
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?
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It’s important to note that those with TRICARE benefits MUST have Part A and B.
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