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What is Medicare-Question
When I turned 65, I did not sign up for Medicare, Part B.  A friend told me that I was fine because I have coverage through the VA. Now, I read that I am subject to a penalty if I decide some day to switch from VA care to Medicare and sign up for Part B. How can that be?

Answer to What is Medicare question
Medicare-eligible veterans with only VA coverage are subject to a late enrollment penalty for Part B. That's because enrollment in the VA health care system is not considered creditable coverage.

Creditable coverage for Medicare Part B (meaning health insurance that can take the place of Part B) can only be provided by certain employer group health plans.  

Bottom line: Veterans who believe that there’s a chance they will need Medicare services or perhaps receive care at a Medicare hospital sometime down the road should enroll when first eligible. If they don't, they will face a late enrollment penalty. Plus, they cannot enroll until the General Enrollment Period (January 1-March 31) and coverage won't take effect until July 1. 

Learn more about the Part B penalty.


Last updated: 01-11-2016