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Does the VA encourage veterans to enroll in Medicare?

For this answer, let’s go right to the source, the Veterans Health Benefits Guide. 

“VA does not recommend that Veterans cancel or decline coverage in Medicare (or other health care or insurance programs) solely because they are enrolled in VA health care. Unlike Medicare, which offers the same benefits for all enrollees, VA assigns enrollees to enrollment priority groups, based on a variety of eligibility factors, such as service-connection and income. There is no guarantee that in subsequent years, Congress will appropriate sufficient funds for VA to provide care for all enrollment priority groups. This could leave Veterans, especially those enrolled in one of the lower priority groups with no access to VA health care coverage. For this reason, signing up for Medicare as a secondary source of coverage may be in the Veteran's best interest. 

“In addition, a veteran may want to consider the flexibility afforded by enrolling in both VA and Medicare. For example, veterans enrolled in both programs would have access to non-VA physicians (under Medicare Part A and Part B) or  may obtain prescription drugs not on the VA formulary if prescribed by non-VA physicians and filled at their local retail pharmacies (under Medicare Part D).”

Also note, if a veteran does not enroll in Part B, medical insurance, he or she may be subject to a late enrollment penalty. 

“Creditable coverage for Medicare Part B can only be provided through an employer. As a result, VA health care benefits to veterans are not considered creditable coverage for the Part B program. So, although a veteran may avoid the late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part D by citing VA health care enrollment, that enrollment would not help the veteran avoid the late enrollment penalty for Part B.”

Remember, Medicare Part A, hospital insurance, is premium-free for anyone who has worked (or whose spouse has worked) and paid taxes for 10 years. 

Find more information here.

Last updated: 07-03-2019