If you have VA coverage do you need Medicare?
We often get folks asking us this question. And the answer is yes. With coverage through the Veterans Administration you should also enroll in Medicare Part B and you might also want to consider adding a supplement plan.
The Department of Veterans Affairs strongly urges everyone who gets VA health care to join Medicare Part B upon reaching age 65. By doing so, you broaden your health insurance coverage and receive many potentially valuable health care benefits. Here are some of those:
- Medicare Part B insurance helps pay for doctors’ services and outpatient care. It will cover you if you have an emergency and are taken to a non-VA hospital. Without Part B, you might have to pay some of those costs yourself. In future years, you also may have need to use medical providers outside the VA system. Those costs would be covered by Medicare.
- VA medical care depends on an annual congressional appropriation. There’s no guarantee that the VA will always receive enough funds to provide care for all veterans.
- Although the VA is not permitted to bill Medicare for the care it provides you, it is allowed to bill your Medicare supplemental (Medigap) insurance plan. If you have both Medicare and a Medigap policy, it could provide you with valuable health insurance package.
- As a low-income person, you may be able to get help paying your Part B premiums through the state-run Medicare Savings Program. Go to this Medicare webpage to find out which agency in your state runs the program.
You can discuss your situation both with Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and with the Veterans Administration health benefits office by calling 1-877-222-8387 toll-free. Don’t be surprised if they both urge you to enroll in Part B as soon as you’re eligible.
Do you need additional Coverage?
Whether or not it’s a good idea for you to purchase additional health insurance may vary based on your proximity to the nearest V.A. Medical center. It is our experience that all veterans should at least consider it. If one lives close to the V.A. they can often get a Medicare Advantage plan which will allow them access to other doctors and hospitals outside the V.A. at a small copay or cost sharing amount without having to always go to the V.A. and in turn it does not effect that coverage. Some of these plans also over $0 monthly premiums which means if you do not use it then it costs you nothing. We also recommend these plans to our more rural folks to help offset the medical costs that can be incurred.
Not every situation is the same, but we do feel taking a look is certainly in your best interest even with V.A. medical coverage. Call me today and I will explain all your options and help you compare plans so you can choose the coverage you need for a price you can afford.