Medicare Advantage for Veterans
Veterans who reach Medicare eligibility may be confused about their options for Medicare Advantage Plans. Some qualify for veteran coverage but are not sure how veteran coverage works simultaneously with Medicare. Different plans operate with Medicare Advantage differently.
Medicare with a Veteran's Plan
Veterans can have both Medicare and a veteran’s insurance plan simultaneously. Typically, veteran plans include Tricare, which applies to active-duty service members, military retirees, and their families. They can also have coverage through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
While the plans differ, it is important to note that you will have to check whether your veteran plan has prescription drug coverage. Not all veteran plans include drug coverage, so you will have to factor that into your final decision.
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Tricare and Medicare Advantage
If you have Tricare and would like to enroll in Medicare Advantage, you may do so. If you do so, that Medicare Advantage Plan is the primary payer. As the secondary payer, Tricare often pays the copayments on your Medicare Advantage plan, minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, Tricare includes drug coverage, so you do not need drug coverage on your Medicare Advantage plan.
VA Health Coverage
While you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan in addition to your VA Health Coverage, you may be trading cost for coverage. Many VA health services have minimal costs. To enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have to pay have Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare Part B has a monthly premium. A Medicare Advantage Plan often also has a monthly premium. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan in addition to VA coverage, you would be paying a minimum of 2 monthly premiums and up to 3 monthly premiums, including drug coverage.
The benefits of a Medicare Advantage Plan, in addition to a VA Health plan, would depend on your goals. For example, if you are not satisfied with your care at your local VA and would like more flexibility with providers and less wait time, a Medicare Advantage Plan might accomplish that goal. Additionally, you may consolidate your care in one place with a Medicare Advantage Plan. Having both plans may be beneficial for certain coverage.
Is a Medicare plan worth it?
If you are a military veteran and would like to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan in addition to your veteran coverage, you can do so. Tricare works with Medicare to become your secondary payer. It often includes drug coverage and minimizes copayments and coinsurance for Medicare. VA Health plans can also coexist with Medicare, but choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan will increase your monthly premiums. This may be a fair trade, depending on your health goals.