Other Considerations for Beneficiaries of VA and Medicare Benefits
If you’re a VA beneficiary enrolled only in Medicare Part A, you’ll need to use VA facilities for all but your Part A-covered services. This means you’ll have to use only VA facilities for any outpatient medical services you need. You’ll have the choice of receiving your Medicare Part A-covered services from providers accepting Medicare or at Dept. of Veterans Affairs facilities. If you choose to receive Part A-covered services outside VA facilities, however, you’ll be responsible for paying any Medicare Part A deductible and coinsurance costs you incur.
If you’re a VA beneficiary enrolled in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, you’ll be responsible for paying your Part B premium. Depending on how you use your Part B coverage, you may have to pay the $147 Part B deductible. If you choose to receive Part A-covered services outside VA facilities, you’ll be responsible for paying any Medicare Part A deductible and coinsurance costs you incur.
Although the VA Benefits Package provides prescription drug coverage, you may choose to bolster your VA coverage by enrolling in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
Anyone enrolled in Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B is eligible for Part D coverage, regardless of income and resources, health status, or current prescription drug expenses.
Participation in Part D is voluntary, and, as with Medicare Part B, there are monthly premiums, deductibles, and copayments. To receive Part D benefits, you have to pick a plan offered by a Medicare-approved private insurance company. Availability of Part D plans varies from area to area.
Although Part D premiums average about $30 a month, Part D copayments are frequently less than VA drug copayments. Under Part D you’ll have far greater flexibility when it comes to selecting pharmacies, and you can even purchase Part D-covered drugs at VA pharmacies. If you’re getting drug coverage only through the VA Benefits Package, you’ll be able to use only VA pharmacies.
People enrolling in Part D prescription drug plans normally pay a late enrollment penalty if they don’t join a drug plan when they’re first eligible. If you’ve been receiving drug benefits through Veterans Affairs, however, you won’t be assessed the late enrollment penalty because the Veterans Affairs prescription drug benefit is considered “creditable coverage.” As a result, there’s no need to rush into enrolling in a Part D plan if you believe your VA drug benefit is sufficient for the foreseeable future.
Many Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans also offer comprehensive drug benefits. Availability of Medicare Advantage plans varies from area to area, but every Medicare Advantage plan combines Medicare Part A and Part B benefits into a single plan administered by a Medicare-approved private company. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer benefits far beyond what Original Medicare covers, and some Medicare Advantage plans are premium-free. If you’re in need of coverage unavailable through your VA Medical Benefits Package or Medicare Part A and Part B, enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan may be a good move to make. Call MedicareMall toll-free at (877) 413-1556 if you’d like to discuss whether any of the Medicare Advantage plans available in your area may be right for you.
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Medicare both offer good, though imperfect, coverage. If you’re eligible for both, chances are you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to receive both Veterans Affairs and Medicare benefits.
For the most comprehensive, worry-free coverage, you ought to consider enrolling in a Medicare supplement plan. Medicare supplement (or Medigap) plans are designed specifically to fill the gaps in Medicare coverage, and being covered by the VA package, Original Medicare, and Medigap will guarantee you the best in flexibility and comprehensive coverage. Why not give MedicareMall a call today to discuss how to get the most out of your VA and Medicare coverage options?
Please leave a comment letting us know how you combine—or plan to combine—your VA and Medicare benefits.
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