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Are There Any Special Medicare Benefits for Veterans?

Are there any special Medicare benefits for veterans?

Are you wondering if there are special Medicare benefits for veterans? Our knowledgeable licensed agents can answer that question! Give us a call at (800) 950-0608 to learn more.

Just the Essentials:

  • The Veterans Affairs (VA) office offers its own VA health insurance coverage.

  • Medicare and VA military insurance do not offer dual coverage.

  • Medicare offers benefits for veterans that VA health insurance does not.

  • Senior veterans are encouraged to sign up for both Medicare and VA health insurance when eligible.

  • To learn more about Medicare benefits for veterans, give us a call today.

Are there Medicare benefits for veterans?

Hold On - the Veterans Affairs (VA) Office Offers Its Own Health Insurance?

If you’re reading this, and you’re a senior who has served in any branch of the United States Military, we’d like to begin by thanking you for your service. We are grateful for each and every one of you that has given your time and energy to serve our country.

As a senior veteran, you’re likely very familiar with Veterans Affairs (VA) health care providers and hospitals. For those unfamiliar with VA health care providers, these medical facilities help veterans receive quality health care at affordable rates. VA health care is made affordable by VA health insurance.

In many ways, VA health insurance works like employer health insurance coverage, only you get to keep it for the duration of your life after serving. You qualify for VA benefits if:

  • You served 24 continuous months of active duty*
  • You’re a current or former member of the Army Reserves or National Guard**
  • You served in certain locations and time periods during the Vietnam War

This means you maintain your VA military insurance benefits throughout senior age. You’ll also become eligible to sign up for Medicare. Does this mean that you’ll need to give one up for the other? Of course not! Let’s look deeper and find out why it’s important to enroll in or hold on to both types of insurance. 

*This applies to individuals who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981. This requirement is waived if:

  • You were discharged for a disability that was caused or worsened by active-duty service; or
  • You were discharged as a result of hardship or “early out”; or
  • You served prior to September 7, 1980

**In order to qualify according to Reserves/NG parameters, you’ll have been required to have been called to active duty by federal order. You’ll also need to have completed the full period during which you were called to active duty.

VA Health Insurance: the Basics

Like any employer, the U.S. Military offers its own health insurance. Military health insurance is offered through Veterans Affairs, also known as the VA. With VA health insurance, you can get certain benefits for veterans that other health insurance plans may not offer.

For instance, many health insurance plans, including Original Medicare, will not cover dental or vision plans. VA health insurance will cover these services to some degree. In order to know whether or not the VA will cover dental or vision services or treatments for you, consult your local VA office or your VA health insurance plan.

Those of you who are 65 and up and Medicare-eligible, you can hold both a Medicare plan and your VA health insurance plan. In fact, it’s often recommended that you enroll in both Medicare and VA military health insurance. They both supplement each other very well, as both health insurance plans offer benefits and coverage that the other may not. 

Why should you have both a Medicare plan and a VA health insurance plan? Let’s dive deeper into that question.

Available Medicare benefits for veterans.

Medicare Offers Benefits for Veterans That VA Health Insurance May Not

…And vice versa.

If you’re a senior citizen who served in the military, and you only have a VA health care plan, you’re missing out on certain special Medicare benefits for veterans. VA health coverage will typically only cover services and treatments offered through VA health and medical facilities. This means that if you’re wanting to choose a provider that isn’t in the VA health and medical system, your VA military insurance will not cover their services because they aren’t VA-approved.

Those of you who are veterans who have enrolled in both a Medicare plan, be it Original Medicare (Parts A and B), Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), or Prescription Drug coverage (Medicare Part D), have the privilege of receiving care from a provider that hasn’t been VA-approved. On the other hand, your Medicare coverage cannot fill in gaps left by care provided by the VA health system.

Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan may give you access to more benefits than Original Medicare, and it can supplement your VA health coverage well. Depending on certain factors, such as your location and your Medicare Advantage plan provider, you may be able to receive the following:

  • Dental, vision, and hearing care coverage
  • Transportation to and from medical appointments
  • Allowances for prescription and Over-the-Counter medications and supplies

Some of the benefits for veterans offered by both insurance plans include:

  • Preventive care
  • Inpatient hospital services
  • Mental health services

I’m a Disabled Veteran - Will My VA Disability Rates Help Pay for Medicare Coverage

Unfortunately, the answer is “no”. Premiums for both types of insurance are paid for by their respective providers. If you have Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or both, your premiums can be deducted from your Social Security benefits. If you’re a veteran who is enrolled in both Medicare and VA health benefits, your VA premiums will be covered by your VA pension*** or your VA disability rates, depending on which one you receive.

If you only receive a VA pension or VA disability rates, and you receive Medicare benefits, you’ll need to pay your Medicare premiums Out-of-Pocket. Likewise, if you’re a retired veteran and you’re covered by VA health insurance only, and you only receive Social Security benefits, your Social Security benefits will not cover your VA health premiums. 

***To learn whether or not you qualify to receive a VA pension, review these VA pension eligibility rules.

Medicare benefits for veterans.

VA Health Benefits and Medicare Benefits for Veterans Can Work Together to Deliver Coverage That’s Right for You

When you’re choosing between Medicare or VA health insurance, there’s no rule that says you have to choose one over the other. In fact, having both can deliver an effective combination to help pay for your health care needs. Utilizing Medicare benefits for veterans and VA health insurance gives you a flexibility to choose providers for health and medical services so that you can receive the care you’re looking for.

If you have any other questions about Medicare benefits for veterans, our friendly, knowledgeable licensed agents are happy to answer them. Give us a call today to learn more about Medicare plans in your area that can work for you.

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