For veterans who are at least 65 years old, there are options when it comes to Medicare and VA benefits. Medicare will coordinate with healthcare that you may already have, such as VA benefits, CHAMPVA, and TRICARE.
What is VA?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers health benefits like inpatient hospital care and outpatient services. VA Health Benefits are different for each individual. The VA benefits include improving functional abilities, treating illnesses and injuries, preventative services, and enhancing quality of life.
The coverage that you qualify for is determined by your VA primary care provider and what they deem medically necessary.
Medicare and VA benefits
It’s usually recommended that veterans who are receiving VA benefits also enroll in Medicare. While Medicare and VA benefits rarely coordinate benefits, it is still recommended that you enroll in Medicare Part A and B. This will come in hand in case you need care from non-VA providers.
A big reason for doing this is that all veterans do not have the same VA coverage and the coverage could change. After a change in VA benefits, you may want to enroll in Medicare. If you didn’t initially sign up, you will be faced with a 10% late enrollment penalty each year for delayed enrollment.
After enrolling in Medicare and VA benefits, you can select which coverage to use when you need any form of healthcare. What’s important to know about this process is that Medicare only pays for services provided by Medicare-certified facilities and VA only pays for services at a VA facility. If the VA happens to authorize healthcare services at a non-VA approved hospital, Medicare will cover a portion of the Medicare-covered services after your VA benefits.
VA drug benefits or Medicare Part D
Most veterans choose to use the VA drug benefits rather than Medicare Part D because it has a lower out-of-pocket cost. However, do your research to make sure that the VA drug benefits cover your prescriptions.
When deciding on whether to sign up for both programs, do your research and figure out what’s best for you. It’s important to consider the future as well to avoid any late penalties.