What Should You Know About Medicare Enrollment for Veterans

What Should You Know About Medicare Enrollment for Veterans

Is Medicare available for veterans? Absolutely. Many veterans already have healthcare plans through their employers or the Veteran’s Administration. They may also be enrolled in TRICARE, a healthcare plan for military personnel and their family members.

Here are more common questions for seniors to ask about Medicare.

Do Veterans Really Need to Enroll in Medicare?

There’s no requirement for any senior veteran to enroll in Medicare, but you may pay a late penalty if you miss Open Enrollment after you’ve turned 65. It’s up to you whether you want to drop your current plan in favor of Medicare.

What If I’m a Veteran Who’s Planning to Retire past 65?

Many people these days are planning to retire later than the traditional age of 65 due to the uncertain economy and rising cost of living. It’s possible to delay your Medicare coverage without paying penalties if you work for an employer with a creditable drug coverage plan.

Keep in mind the Veteran’s Administration depends on funding from Congress. The future of VA benefits seems up in the air at times due to certain political factors.

Are Veterans with VA Benefits Required to Join Medicare?

It’s not necessary for veterans with VA benefits to enroll in Medicare. The VA, however, advises veterans to join Medicare as soon as they become eligible. To qualify for VA benefits, you’ll need to specify which benefits you need and visit a VA medical facility. Your VA plan and healthcare facility will narrow down what your Medicare plan will cover.

It’s possible to see a non-VA doctor and still qualify for both VA benefits and Medicare. If you already have VA benefits by the time you turn 65, there are important things to consider when you enroll in Medicare. Choosing Medicare Part B, for example, means if you decide to drop this coverage then change your mind, you’ll have to wait until the following January to get the coverage back.

VA healthcare plans usually cover prescription drugs, but you can still sign up for Medicare Part D to tap into other medication plans. You won’t be limited to ordering prescription drugs via VA mail-order service. This flexibility gives you the freedom to get prescriptions filled at a non-VA pharmacy in your neighborhood.

Is Medicare Available If You Have TRICARE?

Military personnel can maintain TRICARE coverage if they decide to enroll in a Medicare plan as well. Having the military benefits in place prior to retirement means you simply need to add Medicare. Once you become eligible for Medicare, you’ll have 90 days to decide if you prefer TRICARE.

TRICARE is a program overseen by the Defense Health Agency (DHA), serving millions of active and retired military employees. Your military status determines what your plan covers. It’s possible for Medicare to fill gaps that your TRICARE plan doesn’t include.

Medicare & TRICARE

It’s possible for a senior to carry both Medicare and TRICARE, but you’ll need to specify which benefits you need. You are eligible for TRICARE if you are an active duty service member or part of a military family. Eligibility further extends to individuals enrolled in TRICARE Reserve Select and similar healthcare plans for military family members.

Learn More About Medicare for Vets

Planning your health insurance after retiring from the military can be a complex puzzle until you turn to Medicare experts. If you would like to know more about Medicare for veterans options, contact us at Medicare Advisors. Our team is happy to answer your questions to make sure you have the right healthcare coverage for your personal needs.

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