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Medicare for Veterans: Understanding VA Benefits as a Medicare Beneficiary

Understand your VA benefits, find out if you qualify for cost-free care, and learn how Medicare works for veterans.

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If you’re a veteran — first of all, thank you for your service! Did you know you can use your VA health benefits alongside Medicare ?

You can pay Medicare Part B monthly premiums and access health care from any facility that accepts Medicare. 

However, if you decide not to opt for Medicare Part B, you may only have access to VA medical facilities. In an emergency — like if you have a heart attack and an ambulance transports you to a non-VA hospital — you could be liable for all your health care expenses.

Let’s talk about your VA benefits and how enrolling in Medicare can be an asset to you.

How Does Medicare Work for Veterans?

Becoming a Medicare beneficiary can provide veterans with health care flexibility. Veterans enrolled in Medicare can access non-VA doctors and prescription drugs that are not on the VA formulary.

In most cases , you can only use VA benefits at VA facilities. On some occasions, the VA will authorize services in a non-VA hospital — but this is rare.

If you’re turning 65 and delay enrollment in Medicare Part B, you may accumulate large penalties that you will have to pay every month. While enrolling in VA prescription drug coverage is considered creditable coverage for Medicare Part D, VA health care is NOT considered creditable coverage for Medicare Part B .

The only way to avoid late enrollment penalties is to sign up for Medicare Part B when you become eligible.

Which Veterans Qualify for Cost-Free Care?

As a veteran, you may qualify for cost-free health care and drugs based on the following:

  • Purple Heart recipient

  • POW status

  • VA service-connected disabilities

  • Low-income

  • Treatment for military service experience

You can read the complete list of conditions to see if you qualify.

For more information on how Medicare works with your VA coverage, talk to one of Senior Healthcare Direct’s licensed Medicare agents by calling 1-833-463-3262, TTY 711, or click here to get your quote.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above is meant to be strictly educational and not intended to provide medical advice or solicit the sales of an insurance product or service of any kind.