How Do Veterans Benefits Work with Medicare?

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Did you know? You can have both Medicare and Veterans benefits, although they don’t work together. Veteran benefits are only accepted at Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. If you’d like to see a civilian doctor, Medicare can help with a portion of the costs. Having both Medicare and VA benefits allows you to see a wide variety of doctors and specialists.  

Whether you’re disabled or not, the Veterans Association suggests you enroll in Parts A and B as soon as you’re eligible. Below, Bobby Brock Insurance will discuss what you should know about Medicare and VA benefits.

Why You Want Medicare Coverage

VA benefits only apply to Veteran facilities and doctors. And Medicare only covers doctors that take Medicare. So, let’s say you have a heart attack while running errands, and the closest hospital isn’t a VA facility. In this case, you’ll want Medicare coverage. 

Veterans Benefits and Part A

Most folks would get premium-free Part A coverage if they contributed to Medicare taxes for a decade or more. In the event of an emergency, the VA hospital isn’t always accessible. By having benefits at civilian facilities, you can save thousands in medical bills. So, enrolling in Medicare Part A seems like a no-brainer.

Veterans Benefits and Part B

Medicare Part B isn’t required, but the VA strongly encourages you to sign up. If you delay enrollment, you’ll face a late fee should you need coverage down the road. Under Medicare, VA benefits aren’t deemed as “creditable coverage.”

Medicare will pay for benefits outside a VA facility, which can be extremely helpful in case your VA coverage is dropped or if your local facility doesn’t cover everything — you might pay up to 100% of your medical expenses out-of-pocket if you don’t sign up for Part B.

Medicare Advantage (Part C) and VA Benefits

Many veterans find that Medicare Advantage is useful coverage. Most programs are premium-free and provide additional benefits beyond Medicare. Note that you’ll pay more out of pocket than you would if you had a Medigap policy. But if you can’t afford a Medicare Supplement plan or if you don’t qualify, Medicare Advantage is a practical solution.  

Medicare Part D for Veterans

While you can get prescriptions through the VA, it’s often easier to have Medicare Part D

Having Part D means you can fill your prescription at a local drug store — when you’d typically have to wait for the VA doctor to approve the medicine for the VA to pay for it. Also, VA drug coverage is deemed “creditable coverage” through Medicare, so if you decide to delay Part D, there’s no fee.

Do I Need a Medigap Plan If I Have VA Benefits?

No, you don’t NEED this insurance. Some don’t want to pay a premium when they already have Veterans benefits. However, depending on your situation, it may be the extra coverage you’re looking for

People who live far away from a VA facility or would rather use local doctors could benefit from a Medicare Supplement. If you can afford it, a Medigap policy is worth it because it covers the percentage of Medicare you’d usually have to pay — like deductibles and coinsurances. 

Who Pays First: VA or Medicare?

Medicare pays first for your medical bills. However, if you have group health coverage through an employer, and the company has 20 or more employees; usually, the plan will pay first, and Medicare will pay second.

Related Post: Why Military Veterans Should Consider the Insurance Industry After Service

We Want to Help You

We sincerely thank you for your service. Veterans who are seeking help with their Medicare options should contact Bobby Brock Insurance at (662) 844-3300. We represent the top insurance companies in the nation, and our agents have helped many people just like you.

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Justin Brock

President & CEO of Bobby Brock Insurance