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How do Medicare Advantage and VA benefits work together?

After serving our country in a branch of the US military, many veterans are entitled to health benefits through the VA. However, VA doctors and hospitals are not always convenient options. The vast majority of retired veterans also qualify for Medicare Part A and Part B, and many also choose to maximize those benefits with a Medicare Advantage plan or the addition of a Medicare supplement.

The good news is that retired veterans may even have more choices about ways to control and access health services than others. At Trusted Senior Specialists, we can help you find the best plan for your unique situation. Please contact us at your earliest convenience for guidance.

Should you enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B if you get VA health benefits?

In fact, according to a press release from Blue Cross, veterans should not decline Medicare benefits just because they get VA health benefits. Their reasoning includes:

  • The VA actually recommends that veterans enroll in both Part A and Part B of Medicare because they are entitled to these benefits and they may complement VA benefits.
  • Additionally, there are no guarantees that VA coverage will continue in the future the way that it has in the past.

Medicare Advantage plan, for example, usually allows affordable and convenient access to a plan network of medical service providers that includes hospitals, doctors, and therapists. In some cases, MA plans also include Part D prescription coverage that helps control drug costs. In fact, the VFW organization even recommends a Medicare Advantage plan on their website, but there is no one-size-fits-all senior health insurance option. Veterans are free to shop around for the best plan for their needs.

Medicare supplements work differently, and they supplement Medicare Part A and B to fill in coverage gaps for things that Part A and B do not cover.

Understanding Medicare options
Most retired Americans do not have to pay a Part A premium and do have to pay a premium for Part B. MA plans may have little or no additional premium, but supplements do have monthly premiums just like other health insurance policies.

How do VA health benefits work with Medicare?
Most of the time, your health provider will handle claims and billing, so the whole process will be mostly transparent for you. You simply present your required health card, pay your copay (if any), and receive services. However, you might be interested in the way that tells us that the VA and Medicare coordinate coverage:

  • If you receive Medicare-covered services, Medicare pays.
  • If you receive VA authorized services, the VA pays.
  • Typically, both health plans will not pay for the same services.

Additionally, says that veterans are also free to join a Part D drug program, but the VA and Medicare typically will not pay for the same prescriptions.

Retired Veterans have more choices
Retired veterans actually have more choices than most other Medicare beneficiaries. This is because they can choose to access health services either through the Veterans Administration or through Medicare. In some cases, one option might be cheaper or more convenient than the other one.

If you decide to use a Medicare Advantage plan to control health costs and ensure access to quality health services and products, your best choice will depend upon where you live, your health needs, the amount of money you can allocate to health care, and the way that you prefer to access medical providers. Some insurers offer statewide plans, but others only operate regionally. Even statewide plans may have different costs and benefits in different cities, so it is important to compare available products in your own town or city.

We want to help you make the best use of both your veterans benefits and your Medicare benefits. Contact an experienced senior health insurance agent at Trusted Senior Specialists at your earliest convenience.

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