Military personnel generally get special healthcare benefits while they are serving, and after they are retired. But if you’re a veteran, and you’re about to turn 65, you might be wondering if you can continue to use your military healthcare alongside Medicare, or if you will have to switch to Medicare. The short answer to this is that military retirees can use their Veterans Affairs benefits alongside Medicare.
Medicare is not mandatory for anyone, so you can choose not to enroll at all. But if you choose to wait, and then enroll outside of your Initial Enrollment Period (and don’t qualify to delay your enrollment), you could face late enrollment penalties. In other words, you don’t have to enroll in Medicare if you have VA benefits, but you can, and should if you think you might want the benefits. In fact, the Veterans Administration actually recommends veterans enroll in Medicare when they become eligible, so they can have both types of benefits available to them.
Should You Have Both Medicare & VA Benefits?
So why enroll in Medicare if you already have VA benefits? Your VA benefits may not pay for everything you need, so it’s wise to have both types of plans. Having both means that you can use your VA benefits to receive care at a VA hospital facility, and your Medicare benefits at a Medicare facility. Be aware, though, that you cannot use Medicare benefits at a VA facility and vice versa.
How Benefits Work, and Extra Coverage Options
If you are a military retiree and are 65, you can enroll in Medicare, which requires that you meet annual deductibles, and pay a monthly premium and coinsurance (for Part B). But you will also be automatically enrolled in the VA’s Tricare for Life, a no-cost insurance package that can help fill these gaps in Original Medicare coverage.
If you need more help paying for what Original Medicare does not cover, you also have the option of enrolling in a Medicare Supplement Plan. It’s important to note that Medicare Part B only covers 80% of the cost of treatments, which means you will have to pay the remaining 20% out-of-pocket. This can be quite expensive, even with VA benefits, if you plan to see doctors who are outside of the VA system. Fortunately, though, you can save money on medical expenses and get extra coverage by purchasing a Medicare Supplement Plan.
There are 10 different Medicare Supplement Plans to choose from, each offering different coverage options and rates. It’s worth looking into a Medicare Supplement Plan to save as much money as you can, so speak to an EZ agent for all of your options. EZ’s agents work with the top-rated insurance companies in the nation and can compare plans in minutes for you at no cost. To get free instant quotes for plans that cover your current doctors, simply enter your zip code in the bar on the side, or to speak to a licensed agent, call 888-753-7207.