medicare plans for veterans

Medicare Plans for Veterans

Discover Medicare Plans for Veterans

It is common for veterans approaching Medicare eligibility to have questions about Medicare plans for veterans with Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. While Medicare does not coordinate with VA Benefits, you can have both types of insurance simultaneously and benefit from doing so.

Below, we answer the most frequently asked questions about Medicare for veterans.

Medicare is not mandatory. However, there is significant value to signing up for this coverage when you become eligible.

If you only have coverage through VA benefits, you may only receive care at a VA facility—unless otherwise approved. Often, approvals can take weeks or months to process. On the other hand, Medicare offers coverage in nearly every facility and from almost every provider nationwide.

Therefore, having both Medicare and VA benefits allows individuals to access well-rounded health care coverage with various eligible doctors and hospitals.

For military retirees who worked at least ten years or 40 quarters paying Medicare tax, Medicare Part A is premium-free. 

Therefore, it is beneficial to enroll in the hospital insurance you earn through Medicare.

However, like other beneficiaries, veterans with VA benefits will need to pay a standard Medicare Part B premium for Medicare’s outpatient coverage. Thus, you will want to enroll in Medicare Part B as soon as you are eligible. Delaying Medicare Part B coverage can result in a lifelong late penalty. The penalty occurs because VA benefits are not creditable coverage for Medicare, unlike group health insurance through a large employer.

As a result, you save money long-term when you enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period. If you want to enroll in Medicare Part B but need financial assistance with your Medicare Part B premium, you may qualify for a Medicare Savings Program.

Unlike VA health coverage, VA drug coverage is creditable for Medicare Part D.

VA benefits include prescription drug coverage. Drug coverage from the VA (Veterans Affairs) is considered creditable prescription drug coverage. This means the coverage is at least as good as what Medicare drug plans provide, so you do not need to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan.

Should you choose to cancel your VA coverage, you will want to pick up a Medicare Part D plan as soon as possible. There’s no penalty for delaying Medicare Part D, as long as you enroll within 63 days of when you no longer have VA prescription drug coverage.

There are some situations in which an individual with Medicare and VA benefits could benefit from signing up for Medicare Part D. These circumstances include residing in an area where VA facilities are inaccessible or wanting more options for pharmacies at which to pick up prescriptions.

A Medicare Part D plan could also be a good option for individuals who struggle to pay for their prescriptions. 

If you qualify for Medicare Part D Extra Help, your prescriptions may have lower copays than they would through VA benefits.

Those who have both VA benefits and Medicare Part A and Part B have the option to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Private insurance companies offer Medicare Advantage plans. When you enroll in this coverage, the carrier you choose pays instead of Medicare.

The monthly costs for Medicare Advantage plans are relatively low. Sometimes, Medicare Advantage plans even come without premiums. Thus, Medicare Advantage plans are a good option for extra coverage when you already have VA benefits. 

In an emergency scenario where you need care at a civilian facility, Medicare Advantage plans can help with costs.

Get Help with Medicare for Veterans

There is much to learn about how your health care works when you have coverage through both Medicare and VA benefits. As your local independent insurance agent, I will answer any questions you have about getting the most out of your coverage.

For assistance, call my office at (912) 660-5236 or fill out my online form to see options available in your area. If you need help understanding your options, enrolling, or managing your plan, I am happy to help.