VA Benefits and Medicare: What You Need to Know

Learn how your VA Benefits and Original Medicare work.

by Amy De Vore+ on Feb 03, 2016 | 114 Comments

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As a Medicare-eligible Veteran, you have options when it comes to healthcare. We know this transition to Medicare can be confusing so has listed a few points that all Vets should know when they become Medicare eligible. 

VA Benefits and Medicare

It is important to note that Veteran’s Affair (VA) plans and Medicare are completely separate. VA plans only cover care at VA facilities and Medicare only covers care at Medicare assigned facilities. VA and Medicare coverage does not overlap. To confirm your VA benefits and options, please call the VA directly 1-877-222-VETS (8387). WE ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO ANSWER VA SPECIFIC QUESTIONS. 

Should You Enroll in Medicare Part A If You Have VA Benefits?

Yes. It is strongly recommended that all veteran seniors enroll in Medicare Part A (Hospital Coverage). Usually there is no additional cost for Medicare Part A. This will allow you to receive hospital coverage should you go to a non-VA facility. According to the VA’s website “[We] encourage you to keep your private [Medicare] health insurance.”

Should You Get Medicare Part B If You Have VA Benefits?

Yes, it is strongly recommended that all veteran seniors enroll in Medicare Part B (Medical Coverage). There is typically a monthly fee for Part B but it is usually worth it. If your VA Benefits are dropped at some point OR if your local VA facility does not cover all health services, you could pay 100% of the out-of-pocket expenses for a serious illness. The VA highly recommends that you enroll in Part B as well. 

Don’t miss the Part B deadline or you will have to pay a penalty. Check out our Medicare Deadline Calculator to see when you should sign up.

Please contact Veterans Affairs directly (1-877-222-VETS (8387) with questions about specific care at your local facility.

Should You Get Medigap If You Have VA Benefits?

Perhaps. A Medicare Supplement Plan (AKA Medigap) will fill in the unpaid gaps in coverage such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Medicare also includes benefits when travelling outside of the U.S. and its territories. 

Make sure to speak with your VA, Tricare or CHAMPVA representative before enrolling in any supplemental plan to ensure that it is your best course of action. Here are two reasons why you may want to enroll in a Medigap plan:

      1) You do not live near a VA facility
      2) You are enrolled in one of the VA lower priority groups and could potentially lose your benefits*

It is important to enroll in Medigap when it is first available. If you apply outside of your Medigap initial enrollment period you will be asked medical questions. You could also be denied coverage or charged more.

Learn More about Medigap Get a Medigap QuoteApply for Medigap

Should You Get a Medicare Advantage Plan if you Have VA Benefits?

Probably.  Medicare Advantage (MA) plans can help reduce your out-of-pocket risk should you go to a non-VA facility. Many MA plans have no little or no additional cost. If you go down this path we recommend that you look for a “zero premium policy.” Be sure to select one that doesn’t include prescription drugs since you most likely get those through the VA. We can help you enroll in a no-cost Medicare Advantage plan at 800-930-7956.

Learn More about Medicare Advantage Get a Medicare Advantage Quote

Should you enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan if you Have VA Benefits?

Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs at the pharmacy and these plans cost on average around $35 a month. Most Vets do not select a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan as they have RX coverage from the VA. If you choose not to enroll in Part D when you are first eligible you can even still enroll in Part D later without paying a penalty.

For further questions about Medigap, Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D, please call the number above or contact Senior65.

Please note: We are only able to give general information about Medicare related issues. If you have specific questions about your VA coverage, please contact Veterans Affairs directly.

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Reader Comments and Questions

By Erica on March 14, 2020

My husband is 60% disabled and has received all care from the VA since 2005. He does not have any other coverage (except medicare A.) He wants to transition to "regular" coverage and doctors due to dissatisfaction with the VA. What kind of PENALTY are we looking at when we go to medicare B? We will be getting an advantage plan as well.

According to Medicare: "Your monthly Part B premium could go up 10% for each full 12-month period that you could have had Medicare Part B but did not take it."

If you decide to get Part B and enroll in Medicare Advantage, don't hesitate to give us a call. We at help you enroll in MA, Medigap and Part D at no additional cost and have agents ready to support you if you decide to switch your plan or get additional coverage.
-Michelle from

By Mando on October 11, 2019

I turned 65 in sept and enrolled in Medicare a and b. I also purchased an insurance plan from tx teachers retirement. When I noticed that I had two monthly payments of 135.50 and both for Humana insurance I went to social security office to remove that insurance as I explained I had insurance thru try's and they dropped it. Two weeks later, (0ct 7, 2019) I received letter from Humana that my insurance would end October 31, 2019. I didn't understand so I called Humana and was told it's because I no longer have Medicare b, and cannot enroll until Jan. I constantly see doctors as I have many health issues. I am a veteran and would like to know if I can use va insurance with Medicare a, until I can reenroll in Medicare b. I need help please.

VA doesn't require that you have Medicare Part B. You should be able to use the VA during Nov and Dec but check with them first.
-Chris from

By FRED on October 03, 2019

I have a 60% rating from the V A and receive my healthcare and prescriptions at zero out of pocket through the V A. Why should I sign up for something like Medicare A, B & D that has monthly premiums for some parts and out-of-pocket costs for other parts? Before you answer, I am aware of the V A guidelines concerning emergency care at a civilian hospital and for treatment not offered at a V A facility. The smart answer to this would be for VETERANS like MYSELF sign up for MEDICARE PART A ( WHICH IS ZERO OUT OF POCKET WITH ENOUGH WORK CREDITS ) and have the V A work hand-in-hand with civilian medical facilities to cover any and all costs not covered by MEDICARE PART A.

By Stanley on July 11, 2019

I am a 50% disabled Viet Nam Veteran that receives my medical care from the VA. I have Medicare Parts A & B. I also pay $130/month for Supplemental Health Insurance through Mutual of Omaha. I receive all of my medical care ae well as my prescription drugs free through the VA. My Mutual of Omaha Insurance premiums keep going up every year. Can I drop my supplemental medical insurance with Mutual of Omaha since I don't use it any longer to save money? I plan on continuing my health care through the VA which has done a very good job concerning my health needs here in West Virginia.

If you are completely happy with the VA coverage and don't use your supplemental plan then you probably shouldn't be paying for it. Just know that if you leave your Medigap plan it may be hard to return to it. Be sure to also check with the VA to make sure it is your best course of action.
-Chris from

By Stuart on May 08, 2019

I am a Vietnam Era veteran turning 65 this November. I am low income. I plan to go to my local VA tomorrow to sign up. If I have VA coverage am I required to also have Medicare. I have heard Medicare Part A has no cost. Is this true? I think I have read where Part B is $120.00 monthly, which could hurt me financially as far as daily expenses go.

You are not required to enroll in Medicare but it is strongly recommended that you do. You are right in saying that Part A usually has no cost and as of now Part B is $135.50.
-Chris from

By Michael on May 04, 2019

I’m a Veteran 100% disabled, have VA health care, Medicare A&B, and Supplemental Insurance. My question is the cost of Sup ins keeps rising, do I really need the Supplemental at all.

You should make sure to speak with your VA representative to check if keeping your supplemental coverage is your best course of action. You may want to keep it because you do not live near a VA facility or because you are enrolled in one of the VA lower priority groups and could potentially lose your benefits.

If cost is an issue we would suggest considering a zero premium Medicare Advantage plan as discussed in this article.
-Michelle from

By Larry on May 02, 2019

I retired at age 62 and have VA benefits I pay but not much. I soon will be turning 65 and will be eligable for midicare parts a and b. do I still need a supplement insurance plan thank ou

As stated in the article, you should make sure to speak with your VA representative before enrolling in any supplemental plan to ensure that it is your best course of action. Enrolling might make sense if you do not live near a VA facility or you are enrolled in one of the VA lower priority groups and could potentially lose your benefits.

Should you decide that getting Medigap or a Medicare Advantage is in your best interest, please call us to help you enroll.
-Michelle from

By Dwayne on April 24, 2019

Do I need Medicare part B if I’m retired Military (20 yrs) and 100 percent VA Service Connected? I turn 65 August 2019. I received all my care at VA facilities.

As the article states, it is strongly recommended that all veteran seniors enroll in Medicare Part B. There is typically a monthly fee for Part B but it is usually worth it.
-Chris from

By Peter on April 09, 2019

I enjoy VA Health Care and I also am enrolled in Veteran's Choice 40. How does Choice 40 integrate with Medicare?

Hi Peter,
You should contact Medicare directly with this question.
-Chris from

By Katharine on February 07, 2019

I am a widowed survivor of a 100% disabled Viet Nam veteran who died 3 years ago. I receive DIC monthly and have CHAMPVA. I also have Medicare as well as an Anthem BC/BS policy which I pay for from my Maine Education Association pension. I called the VA to see if I could receive meds by mail and was told I didn't need to keep paying for my MEA BC/BS policy because CHAMPVA covered everything that policy would. Though I could really use the extra money every month which goes towards my MEA policy, I'm reluctant to give it up- once given up it cannot be reinstated- and I've been told it's excellent coverage. Do I dare let the MEA BC/BS go and trust that the VA will pick up all potential medical expenses after Medicare? I'm not sure where to go to get the information I need to make the right decision. I've carried the BC/BS for 11 years now because of my uncertainty. Thanks for any help or direction you may provide.

It is a complicated situation. We suggest you contact the Maine Education Association pension directly and ask them if they agree your coverage is redundant to the CHAMPVA. If both parties say yes then you should consider dropping the redundant coverage.

-Chris from

By Bobby on July 16, 2018

I am a vet; 79 yrs. of age. I have a medicare coverage ( humana connect) I want to drop this coverage and sign up for va ins . Can I do this at anytime during the year ? thanks

There are specific times during the year when you can drop a Medicare Advantage plan. Please give your current plan (humana) a call to confirm when you can do this.
-Eric from

By Terry on June 18, 2018

My brother in law, a purple heart veteran, suffered a stroke in Wa state while visiting his father. He gets his medical from the VA locally in Tx where he lives. In Wa they transported him to a local hospital where he died. Stroke was on Wednesday and he passed Friday. He was in a coma and the VA is denying coverage because he didn't notify them within 72 hours that he was in a non-VA facility. My sister wasn't aware of any problem until after completing probate when she started receiving bills. How should we proceed?

So sorry for your loss.
I would check to see if he had Medicare Part A as that should cover 80% of his hospital coverage. You can do this by contacting the CMS at 1-800-633-4227. The VA recommends that every vet consider both Medicare Part A and Part B so he may have selected that coverage.

Also check to see if he had a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan as that would help pay some or all of the 20% not covered by Medicare. The CMS should be able to help you with that. Finally, I would look into an appeals process for the declined coverage by the VA.
Best wishes,
-Chris from

By Deidra on May 16, 2018

My dad is 81 and uses VA benefits 100% of the time. Getting in to see his PCP at the VA off-campus facility is difficult and care is not always the best. Who should he call to find out what his premium will be for Part B Medicare (80%) and Medigap/supplemental (full coverage 20%) or if he wants Part C Medicare Advantage (coverage % varies based on the plan and cannot purchase Medigap/supplemental)? I prefer Part B, but it will be his choice.

You will have to contact Medicare (800-633-4227) to determine his part B fees. He will need to enroll with part B before he could consider a Medigap or Medicare Advantage. You can call Senior65 at 800-930-7956 to help you figure out the cost for Medigap or Medicare Advantage.
-Michelle at

By Mark on May 07, 2018

I have VA insurance because I got laid off and now I'm om disability. The VA covered 100% of my knee replacement but I need another one for my other knee. I'm afraid if I also go on medicare in Auguse I'll have a much larger co pay. Any ideas?

Medicare and the VA are two separate programs that cover expenses (mainly) at separate medical locations. So if you use the VA for your second knee operation, your experience will be the same as the first -regardless if you have Medicare or not.

If you do work with the VA for your second knee operation and instead go to a civilian hospital, your Medicare will have a deductible and cover only about 80% of the procedure. If you wanted most or all of your costs covered you would consider a Medicare Supplement plan (MEDIGAP). You can get a Medigap quote here
-Michelle from

By Bud on April 26, 2018

My dad is 68 and 100% VA medical. He lives within 10 miles of a major VA medical facility. My question is, why does he have to pay for Medicare benefits that he never ever uses?

He doesn't have to pay for Medicare if he doesn't want it. If he has Medicare part B. he can quit it by contacting Medicare. If his VA benefits change, exhaust or if he wants to use a civilian hospital in the future, he would have less options or would have to pay out of pocket. The VA recommends that everyone have Part A and Part B.
-Chris from

By Debra on April 23, 2018

My husband & I are both veterans and he is an AF retiree, so we have TriCare. We are both VA patients - he has a 10% disability & I have a 50+% so we get our healthcare at VA; I get my meds; he uses Tricare's mail pharmacy. What benefit is there for paying for Medicare B?

Part B would cover about 80% of your doctor's expenses at non VA facilities. If your VA Benefits are dropped at some point OR if your local VA facility does not cover all health services, you could pay 100% of the out-of-pocket expenses for a serious illness.
-Eric from

By JACK on April 10, 2018

Just received a VA bill for $15.00 co-pay for aspirin 81mg qty : 120 I could buy the same for $3.00 at the drug store. "Baby Aspirin" Isn't the VA overcharging a little?

By Jeff on April 06, 2018

I am USAF veteran with a DD-214 honorable discharge for service 1971-1974. I have a 10 percent disability and I see my PCP at the VA Community-Based Outreach Clinic. The nearest VA hospital is 120 miles away on another island. I am a frequent beneficiary of Choice care since we are remote here. I will turn 65 in June this year. Have I missed some kind of deadline for applying for Medicare Parts A and B?

Based on the message above it doesn't look like you have missed your deadline. Check out our Medicare Deadline Calculator.
-Eric at

By Karen on February 06, 2018

Both my husband and I are Veterans. He is 14 years old than I am and retired in 2005. I retired in 2015. As the last to retire, we have Tricare Prime under my name. We also have two minor children current age 15 and 16. Since he will be 65 first, is there any benefit to changing Tricare under his name, or keeping it under my name. It seems Medicare Part B cost twice as much as our Tricare premiums. And once he turns 65 is it okay if the benefits stay under me and not enroll into Medicare?

Please contact the VA regarding this question. 1-877-222-VETS (8387). We are not authorized to answer VA benefit questions.

By Bob on January 22, 2018

I am 60% service connected and planning on retiring at the end of May. I then 66 in June. I have been going to local VA for the last 4 years. I like my Dr's and get all my prescriptions there. My question is when I sign up for Social Security do I take Part D? If I take Part D do I need a supplement. I plan on staying with the VA.

According to the VA:

"Enrollment in the VA health care system provides a prescription drug benefit that has been determined to be as good as the benefit provided under a Medicare prescription drug plan. As a result VA enrollment provides “creditable coverage” for Medicare Part D purposes. "

This means that you don't have to enroll in Medicare Part D and if you chose to join at a later time you will not be penalized.
Hope that helps!
-Kelly from

By Robert on January 16, 2018

I am a Vietnam Vet .... Serving from 1962 to 1966 ... Am I eligible to get my prescriptions filled through the VA. I live in Upper Darby Pa. 19082 and don't know where to go to apply ... can you help ???

Please call the VA at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

By Crystal on January 09, 2018

My father has VA benefits and gets all of his prescriptions through the VA. He also has Blue Cross. He has been paying for Humana (Medicare Part D) monthly. We just received noticed that he now has a late-enrollment penalty "because you didnt have Part D or other creditable prescription drug coverage for a period of 63 days or more after initial enrollment." My questions are... 1.) If VA drug coverage is considered creditable, why does he even have Humana? 2.) If he pays his Humana premium monthly and received nothing about enrollment, why is it sayng there was more than 63 days of no Part D. 3.) How do we remove the pentalty? Can we stop Humana completely? Should we contact the VA or Humana?

you should contact the VA AND Humana to see how he can stop paying this penalty.

By Ron on January 08, 2018

I am a Vietnam veteran and have never used my VA. I have been on Medicare and Kaiser Senior Advantage for four years. I am taking a lot of medicines and would like to get my meds through the VA. Do I sign up just for VA pharmacy or would also have to sign up for VA medical. Could I still keep my Kaiser Senior Advantage for my doctors and occasional medicines. Can you have HMO Kaiser Senior Advantage and VA Coverage?

You will want to contact the VA directly but typically you can be on both a Medicare Advantage plan and VA coverage.
-Michelle from

By Deborah on January 07, 2018

My husband is 82.5 years old, and is currently going to the VA for his healthcare and drug care. I've read that he may be able to get Medicare Advantage and $0 premium. Is this correct? I'm on SS Medicare and health and drug supplement, and so, therefore, would not be feasible to pay another $426. out of pocket for premiums. Our VA is 115 miles one way from our home, with a VA clinic 90 miles round trip.

Yes, you can enroll in a zero premium Medicare Advantage plan even if you have VA coverage. Under most circumstances, however, you must enroll in these plans when you first turn 65 OR between Oct.15 and Dec 7th.
-Eric from

By Vickie on November 27, 2017

My husband was in the Air For 8 and a half years. He became disabled May 2017. He has Medicare A&B and was told he could not get anything from the veterans. This is absolutely so wrong!!!! We had to get a drug plan and supplemental insurance. Thank you Veteran for nothing!!!!

By Patricia on November 22, 2017

My husband is72 and 100%. I took him to get his part B, but found out that he will be penalized for the last 7 years. The cost is terrible. Will he have to always pay that? We never knew he should have part B. VA had made so many medical serious mistakes on him that we wanted to get services outside the VA.

It is our understanding that the late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part B is a lifetime penalty. Sorry you missed the deadline.
-Eric from Senior65

By Paul on November 01, 2017

I am 71 years old, and a Vietnam War veteran with a Purple Heart but I have never applied to the VA for a service disability rating. I have Medicare parts A, B, and D. I have a non-VA physician from whom I have received medical treatment. A couple of years ago I signed for the VA medical care system. I really like my VA physician and would like to transition all my medical care to her (ending my relationship with my non-VA physician). My issue is with Medicare Part D; presently covered by a BC/BS plan. I currently take three prescription drugs, all of which are in the VA Formulary. My VA physician is willing to prescribe all three drugs to the VA Pharmacy.

If I get my drugs through the VA, does it make any sense to continue paying the premiums for the BC/BS private plan? What are the advantages or disadvantages of having both non-VA and VA prescription drug plans?

Thank you for your service. Many vets do not have Medicare part D as they get all their meds through the VA. Confirm with Veteran's affairs if this makes sense in your case. You will find their number throughout the article above.
-Michelle from

By Doug on October 22, 2017

I recently had an extensive/expensive($6,400) test done by my VA hospital. I realize the VA does not really bill Medicare, but my electronic statement from the Medigap Company breaks it down so it looks like Medicare paid its share. However, the VA does bill my Medigap Carrier. The policy I have (F) ended up paying the VA $218.00 and I had to pay nothing. Would a Medicare Advantage policy work the same way, or would they deny the claim and the VA would then require me to pay that amount? I have a 10% service-connected rating for my heart, and this was a test of my heart.

It is our understanding that a Medicare Advantage plan would not reimburse for services rendered at a VA facility.
-Amy from

By John on August 17, 2017

I'm 73 and still working. I do a lot of traveling. I currently have medicare and a medicare supplement plan F. I get the majority of my health needs at the VA. The medicare supplement cost keeps going up as I get older. Will going to another plan like C or B help reduce the cost?

Usually switching to C or B will not save you enough money to be worth it. We would recommend looking a G, N or High F if you cannot afford F. Sometimes quotes for High F are not available online. Feel free to call our office.
Eric at

By Wayne on May 15, 2017

I am 85 yrs. old and 50% diability veteran and go to the VA for health care. I also have Medicare and part B. I read that I may be elegible to receive up to 104.90 per month reimbursed into my ssi check. Please advise. Thanks

Thank you for your question! You will want to reach out to Social Security and the VA to find out how to be reimbursed. Best of luck!
-Amy from

By Jamie on April 21, 2017

My husband is 69 and never signed up for Medicare Part B because he assumed he was covered by his VA benefits. Is it too late to do so now and will he be penalized for not doing so.

It's not too late! However, he most likely will have to wait until the General Election Period (Jan 1 -March 31) to apply for a July 1, 2018 start date. You will want to contact Medicare directly to see if he has a Special Enrollment Period.
-Amy from

By Mandy on April 13, 2017

I have a gentleman who is getting VA benefits (10% -his words) and is on Medicare Parts A and B and has a Part D prescription plan. He received a letter in the mail asking him to chose between Health partners, blue cross, UCare, etc. Does he HAVE to have that or is that optional?

Thank you for your question. It sounds like he might also have Medicaid, which means, yes, he would have to choose. You'll want to contact CMS to find out what type of coverage he has.
-Amy from

By Bruce on April 07, 2017

If a veteran with regular VA benefits (not Tricare) enrolls in a Medicare Advantage plan WITH Prescription Drug coverage (MAPD), do they give up their right to fill prescriptions at the VA ? Can they continuously use their choice of either VA or their MAPD and switch back and forth at anytime to fill prescriptions ? Will having VA drug coverage conflict in any way with their MAPD ? Will having an MAPD conflict in any way with their VA benefits ?

While you can have an MAPD along with VA benefits (without conflict), you don't need the drug benefit, and it may serve you better to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan without drug coverage (depending on what type of coverage is offered to you). You can use either one as you like. Only thing is: all drugs prescribed by a non-VA doctor, require a VA doctor to approve in order to be covered by the VA. Remember to confirm all coverage with the VA. For help enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By Al on April 06, 2017

I am a 92-year old WW2 veteran with a 20% hearing loss benefit. I have both Medicare and Medigap coverage.. Despite this, my prescription drug coverage is a "cost of living problem" for me. Am I eligible for entire VA drug coverage for all of my illnesses (non-service connected?) If so, how do I proceed?

There are two things you may qualify for: 1) VA drug coverage 2) Medicare Extra Help. For the former, you will want to contact the VA directly, and for the latter, you will contact Medicare directly.
-Chris from

By Leah on March 29, 2017

Receiving services at a non-VA facility using Medicare Part A as Primary, can I use VA benefits as secondary to cover the Medicare Deductible and Co-insurance amounts?

VA and Medicare usually do not work together; and, therefore, your VA benefits should not cover your Medicare out of pocket costs. You will want to contact the VA and Medicare to coordinate benefits.
-Michelle from

By maureen on March 28, 2017

My husband is a Veteran covered 60% thru them & has some coverage from Medicare A &B he is on Social Security. He will be turning 65 on April 2, 2017. But he still for some reason has to pay co-fees on hospital/doctor visits meds & so much more & he still is NOT Covered for (eye or hearing stuff). We Dont know what to do or How to get More Benefits so when Next Week he turns 65 he can STOP Paying So Much!! He is on such a tight budget with all this he Cant Hardly Pay for the Rest of his Bills!! Could You PLZ Help get us in the Right Program? . CLEARLY We Are Missing & Have been sent in the Wrong Direction!! Thank You Very Much!!

Thank you for your question. He can join a Medigap plan to cover his Medicare copays, coinsurance, and deductibles, but if he can't afford that, he can join a Medicare Advantage plan that will lower his out of pocket max, but still pays copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. With that said, he may want to see if qualifies for the Spend Down and Extra Help programs -these may help him with his financial needs.
-Michelle from

By susan worley on March 22, 2017

My husband turned 65 last May. He has a 20% disability thru the VA and is self employed working full time. Because he receives all his health care thru the VA we did not enroll him in Medicare. Is this a problem?

The VA, Medicare, and Senior65 highly recommend that he enrolls in Medicare. He will want to do this quick because Part B General Election Period Runs from Jan 1-March 31, after this he will not be able to enroll until next Jan. If he does enroll and is looking for a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan, have him call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from

By Floyd manuel on March 10, 2017

Because of my veterans status spouse has champva, she also has Medicare A&B, also covered with employee retirement plan which is very expensive, what benefit is there keeping third insurance

Thank you for your question! Most likely you don't need the 3rd insurance, but you will want to contact the VA and retiree plan to confirm this.
-Amy from

By dsjs on January 27, 2017

My dad is 83 years old and did not realize he could have both VA and Medicare is it too late to sign him up for Medicare?

You father can sign up for Part A and B during the Medicare General Election Period and his effective date will be July 1, but he may owe penalties if he didn't have creditable coverage. If he needs helps enrolling in drug plan or Medicare Health plan, have him call one of our Senior65 licensed insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By TW on January 27, 2017

You mentioned that ChampVA was only for veterans. I believe it is for the spouse of a 100% veteran.

By Jim on January 19, 2017

I go to the va for all medical and prescriptions, I pay into Medicare $108.00 per month I never use it can I get that money back at the end if the year? Thank you.

You won't get a refund for not utilizing your Medicare. You can talk to Medicare about delaying your Part B, although we do NOT suggest doing so. You will want to weigh all of your options with the VA and Medicare directly.
-Amy from

By Robin Taylor on January 18, 2017

I'm a disabled veteran currently receiving my care through my local VA. I disagree with one of my specialists about my care. Can I use my Medicare to get a second opinion?

While you may use Medicare to get a second opinion, it does not mean that VA will consider that doctor's opinion for surgery or other procedures. The reason they do not have coordinated coverage.
-Amy from

By Elizabeth Fox on January 17, 2017

My bf is a 70% disabled vet. He recently got approved for SSDI and Medicare. Can he see both a VA physician and a civilian physician for the same medical condition? The civilian medical world runs faster for many tests and procedures. My bf has been waiting for six months to get an MRI through the VA but can get one done in the civilian hospital in just two weeks.

Yes, he can see both. The reason is the VA and Medicare do not work together -so there's no crossover. If he's interested in lowering his out of pocket costs for Medicare (Medicare Advantage or Medigap) have him give one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents a call at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By Jim B on December 14, 2016

I moved here to Colorado Springs from Texas where I was seeing an MD at a clinic in Wichita Falls and received very very good care there. As soon as I had my first appointment here I was appalled at the service here in Colorado. They don't have enough Dr's and have upgraded nurses and I can only imagine other medical technologist's to what the call physician assistants to give treatment to veterans. My very first appointment I was told my old Doctor's treatment plan wasn't going to work because the VA had new guidelines that included getting vets off the pain meds I was on. I was told this by a tech, who was just reading it off a screen and there was no arguing with them. This along with being a patient in a VA hospital and seeing the way the "nurse's who know they can't be fired" acted, I am leaving the VA and am going 100% with medicare where I can see a real MD. My question is will this affect my VA disability payment if I don't use them anymore?

All VA questions should be addressed directly with the VA office. If you need help finding a Medicare health plan (Medigap, Medicare Advantage, or Part D) contact one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By Timothy Roberts on December 03, 2016

What happens to health care for veterans who have tricare and medicare if Medicare is abolished by Congress?

The good news is that is a BIG what if. As of right now, Medicare is still covered and approved by Congress, and we cannot make any speculations about the future of Medicare or the effects on veterans. Wish we could help more.
-Eric from

By ALAN HUGHES on October 24, 2016

I would love to know why / how VA medical to a 100% disabled veteran or any veteran IS CONSIDERED not to HAVE creditable coverage with reference to part b of soc security. Is the government / social security saying therefore that the Veterans are receiving less than creditable coverage?

Creditable coverage for Part A and B requires that you are able to use the same network of doctors and hospitals as Medicare (i.e. job-based, retiree insurance). Since the VA coverage network is comprised solely of VA/VA friendly facilities, it is not considered creditable coverage. However, VA drug coverage is considered creditable coverage. Hope this better explains it.
-Amy from

By Ignacio Olivas on October 13, 2016

I just turned 65 and have a 10% disability. I don't care what others say about the Va I'am completely satisfied with them. I'am Confused exactly what do I need in order to keep going to the VA? Thank you

Happy to hear that you are pleased with VA health care. Unfortunately, we are not VA experts, so, you will want to contact the VA to find out what you need to do to keep the coverage.
-Chris from

By Judy Smith on September 26, 2016

If my Husband has TriCare for life and is 10% disability from the VA, does he have to pay a copay at the VA?

We are health insurance agents that can enroll you in a Medicare Health plan, we are not VA experts. Your husband will want to call the VA directly to find out. If he needs help enrolling in a Medigap, Medicare Advantage, or Part D plan, have him call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By agent on September 26, 2016

Your website says that VA benefits are not considered credible coverage. You are wrong. see to Kramer from Michelle

We know how confusing this can all be. So to clarify, as stated in the above article, VA benefits are considered creditable coverage for Part D, "However, under Medicare Part B, VA health care is NOT creditable coverage Creditable coverage under Medicare Part B can only be provided through an employer" Hope this clears it up!
-Amy from

By Carol on September 24, 2016

My husband is a Vietnam veteran and gets medical help from the V.A, 10% disability, Priority Group 3. He's signed up for Medicare A and B, and gets his prescriptions from the V.A. We live an hour from the closest facility. --We were talked into getting a Medicare Advantage plan, but you say MA REPLACES Medicare A/B (i.e., covers everything A/B would cover), so why would we continue with A/B? --Does the V.A. charge copays and deductibles for non-service connected conditions? If so, wouldn't it be better to have a Medigap plan?

Thank you for your question. While Medicare Advantage "replaces" Original Medicare, you are still enrolled in Medicare; therefore, you still pay for the premium(s). We are not VA experts, and would not be able explain the coverage your husband is offered. With that said, we do suggest, if you can afford it, to look into Medigap -as you have a lot more flexibility in network, and a Plan like Medigap F will cover your copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. For help finding a Medigap plan in your area call 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By VA in collsion with Medicare on September 13, 2016

I have sent back the SSA card checking off the box that DON'T want Part B and signed it, and sent it in a month before the date , due to the facts that I have Workers' Comp and enrolled in the VA, in which I have a health care team. Between the two, I have enough coverage. And since they are mutually exclusive, WHY would I have a duplication of coverage? Since then I have called SSA, and they say they are going to investigate me and that could take a period of 60 days. During this time, if the investigation goes beyond my 65th (which I am sure it will), they still going to deduct about $120.00 for the new classification they assigned me. What I would like to know is how do they Investigate me? Is the IRS involved? The card stated that it was MY decision to refuse Part B, no one else. This is just one one of many money schemes the government will bear down on the older generation.

Unfortunately, none of this is our area of expertise. To clarify your situation, you will want to contact CMS. Sorry we cannot help you anymore on this.
-Michelle from

By Lawrence Newby on September 07, 2016

If I go to VA hospital For a 6 day stay will I still have to pay a Medicare deductible?

The VA and Medicare do not work together; therefore, if you stayed at a VA hospital, your VA coverage would cover it, not Medicare. If you're interested in a Medigap or Medicare Advantage to lower your out of pocket costs when you're admitted to a non-VA hospital, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By Paul on August 16, 2016

I'm disabled thru Ssdi 100 percent and this has just started. I'm also a veteran and Receive all my meds/treatment/etc at my local va. My question is evidently ssdi enrolled me in Medicare part B. Without my knowledge Can I opt out if the part B and continue my free va coverage?? 122.00 per month for Medicare partB is expensive. Or am I required to keep Medicare b?

You absolutely can opt, but it is not recommended. The VA and Medicare both recommend keeping your Medicare insurance. The reason is, some treatments are not covered at your VA facility, as well as, your coverage can change in years to come. If you were to enroll in Part B later on, you would only be able to enroll between Jan and March for a July 1 start date, and would owe a penalty. Hope this helps!
-Chris from

By Terry on July 13, 2016

I am 70 years old and have medicar. Part A,B,D . I have Va primary care, Should I get a supplement to go with my medicar and Va primary care.

If you are seeking care outside of VA facilities, we suggest getting a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan. The reason is, Medigap plans can cover your copays, coinsurance, deductibles, and adds an additional 365 days of hospitalization. For help finding a Medigap plan call one of our licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from

By Maureen on June 11, 2016

I have Medicare Part A and Part B and CHAMPVA as the spouse of a 100% Disabled Veteran and Pay for Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield as an annuitant from my previous diseased husband who was a retired Federal Employee. Do I receive any additional benefits from having Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield? If not, would it be wise for me to Suspend my Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield and save on this premium?

Most people do not need ChampVA and a separate supplement policy. You will want to contact ChampVA directly to see if there are any gaps in your coverage that your other supplement policy would cover. Hope this helps!
-Amy from

By Bonnie Kelley on June 02, 2016

My husband is a retired veteran. He fell and broke his hip. He is in a rehab center, but they want to discharge him,because he won't do all the therapy, because of pain. What can i do, I can't afford to send him some where and I can't take care of him at home. I am not capable. Can the V.A. help me

Usually, health care in a rehabilitation center is only covered if there is some type of improvement. However, you may be able to get Home Health Services for your husband -which are usually at no cost through Medicare, not sure what the costs are through the VA, or if the VA covers it. You will want to contact the VA directly to find out what options he has. Best of luck!
-Chris from

By Bill on May 28, 2016

I am a 70 year old veteran and have been using VA healthcare services for 10 or more years. I have had a mild heart attack, multiple operations, routinely see various specialists and receive physical therapy both at home and at local VA hospital. All of my healthcare needs are met by the VA. My only cost ever has been a co-pay on prescription drugs. I have never used my Medicare insurance. What would my risk be if I dropped Medicare?

There are some risks involved with dropping Medicare. The main one is, we've had a few clients who have a rare disease or a type of cancer that their VA facility cannot treat. If this was your case, and you were to have dropped Medicare Part B (as most people keep Part A, since it is usually premium-free), you would have to pay 100% of your out of pocket costs for any care by a doctor in and out of a hospital setting, as well as, any out-patient treatments (lab work, MRIs, chemo, etc.). You would not be able to reapply for Part B until the general election period (from Jan 1 to March 31), your Part B coverage would begin on July 1st, and you would owe a Part B penalty for late enrollment. The VA and Senior65 highly recommend that you maintain your Medicare coverage.
-Amy from

By John on May 26, 2016

I am a veteran,am 85 y/o & have never enrolled for VA healthcare. I have Medicare Parts A&B and medigap. I recently had a hearing test & need hearing aids. Can I enroll in VA healthcare and get hearing aids there at no cost, but still use my outside doctors & hospitals for all other services?

You will want to contact the VA to see if you can get covered now, and how they cover hearing aids. If you are able to enroll in VA benefits, you will still be able to keep Original Medicare and your Medigap plan, and see any doctor that accepts Medicare assignment.
-Amy from

By Marilee Scott on May 17, 2016

I am a veteran using the local VA facility ($0 due to low income status). I have Medicare Part A and B, and for the past year I have been enrolled in Kaisers Senior Advantage Basic ($0) with Extended coverage for optical, dental, gym membership ($20 p/m) etc. This plan also provides for prescriptions, which is free for me through the VA. I have been thinking of dropping Kaiser as I only use it for the optical and dental overage, in favor of Medigap Plan F. My am concerned about major medical problems which the VA and Kaiser are not noted for, in favor of choosing private specialists. Will I be penalized for not getting the Medigap insurance four years ago when I was first eligible or Medicare?

You will not be penalized for not enrolling in Medigap when first eligible. However, you will need answer to medical questions, and could be denied or charged more if you have preexisting conditions. For help switching your Medigap plan, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By Ron on May 16, 2016

Thanks for the advice Chris. So, it is my understanding that I am not required to keep Plan B if I trust that the VA will provide to care I need. Cost of living is of major importance of course. Thanks

Not exactly. If you decide to enroll in Part B later on, you will owe a penalty -because VA coverage is not considered creditable coverage for Medicare. We, and the VA, highly recommend that you enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. The only reason to delay Part B is if you have work based insurance or other creditable coverage. Let us know if you need help finding a Medicare Health plan in your area by calling one of our licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By Ron on May 11, 2016

I am a Veteran receiving health benefits form the VA. If I am enrolled in Medicare Part A and B do I need a Plan G plan as well? Or should I drop plan B and keep plan G?

We understand the transition to Medicare can be confusing! Let us help explain it better. To enroll in a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, you need to be enrolled in both Original Medicare Part A and B. In other words, if you want to be enrolled in Plan G, you would not be able to drop Part B. If you need help finding a Medigap plan in your area call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By on May 10, 2016

Hi, I have Medicare Advantage and VA coverage, and I am having difficulty navigating both systems, especially regarding Home Healthcare. My PCP is through the VA, but she can only refer me within the VA network, not within the Medicare Advantage systems. Should I get a second PCP for the Medicare Advantage side to be able to navigate this system, since they operate separately? Do I need to drop my VA PCP to do this? Thanks, James

We totally understand that navigating both can be difficult. Since Medicare Advantage and VA benefits do not work together, you would need a separate PCP. Since they are separate, no, you do not need to drop your VA PCP. As always, before you make any changes please contact the VA.
-Chris from

By Chris Terrell on May 10, 2016

After reading all the insightful answers to the many questions posted, I'm confused with the term you use Medigap. Could you give the definition of Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans. In other words, what is medigap,and the difference between that and Medicare Advantage, and also, Medicare part F? Thank you.

Thank you so much for the compliment! Happy to send you in the right direction. The following articles should help explain:

Medicare Health Plans: Medicare Advantage vs. Medigap
Medigap Plan F Details

For further questions, please contact one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By Joe Hatton on May 04, 2016

I am 100% disabled, service connected. My wife has both medicare A&B plus champ va. Recently she had a procedure at a civilian hospital. The hospital will only bill medicare they say they are not allowed to bill both. I am responsible for the balance. I have been under the impression that champva was the same thing as a medicare supplemental. Am i wrong and do i need to enroll the wife in a supplemental?

This confuses me, too! ChampVA should work as a supplement to Medicare. I'm wondering if your hospital's billing department doesn't realize that ChampVA is different from traditional VA coverage. My suggestion is, you'll want to contact the VA directly to confirm, and your ChampVA provider. If you decide you'd prefer to enroll in a Medigap plan, please call one of our licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Eric from

By Duke E. Tilley, Jr. on April 24, 2016

I am a veteran with no service connected disabilities. In 2013 and 2014 I exceeded the VA National Threshold amounts and I was told that I would have to make copayments. However, I enrolled in a medicare advantage plan through Humana which includes Medicare Part A, B, & C. I was outsourced by the VA for a double knee replacement surgery. Does my Medicare Advantage plan pay for any co-pays I may have? The operation was performed by a non-VA doctor at a Medicare acceptance facility and my in-patient rehab and outpatient rehab was done at non-VA hospital and rehab center because VA could not accommodate. Both facilities accept Medicare.

Your Medicare Advantage plan does not supplement Medicare, but rather replaces it. You will still be responsible for copays, coinsurance, and possibly a deductible(s). You will want to check with the company you are enrolled in to see how they cover your surgery.

If you would like to switch to a Medigap policy to supplement your Medicare (can cover copays, coinsurance, and deductibles) or switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan, please call one of our licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from

By Robin Kellogg on April 07, 2016

I am the widow of a 100% disabled veteran. ChampVA Is my secondary insurance and Medicare (A & B) are primary. When scheduling a mammogram for myself at a civilian hospital I learned that Medicare asks patients a new question; "Do you receive Veteran's Benefits?" Why are they asking me and why do I have to answer that question?

Most likely they are asking that question for their records. It could also be because you have ChampVA, which is only available to veterans. Most likely you will have to answer yes, because of ChampVA.
-Amy from

By terry tabaka on March 15, 2016

I get all my needs at the VA. I am not disabled just regular VA benefits Terribly confused as to what medicare benefits to get part A part b act Money is an issue I'm turning 65 in aug

The VA highly suggests that you enroll in both Medicare Part A and B. With that, you may want to, since money is an issue, consider a Medicare Advantage plan to limit your out of pocket expenses. As always, we suggest that you contact the VA to confirm. Please call us at 800-930-7956 if you need to find a Medicare Advantage plan in your area.
-Eric from

By Pat Lorenz on March 12, 2016

A representative in VA Billing said that if my father who is 90 and a veteran has an emergency situation at a hospital, his Medicare part A and B will pay for his hospital stay. There is a copay due after the 80%. The representative said that hospitals must accept the medicare amount and not bill the veteran for the additional copay. The representative said that they are not allowed to send this bill from the hospital to a collection agency.

Medicare hospital stays are covered a little different than you describe, for example you have two deductibles your father must meet before you start paying toward coinsurance (% you pay) and copays (set amount such as $20 per office visit). Check out Medicare costs at a glance, to see how your father's hospital stay would be covered. Remember that Part A covers for hospitalization, while Part B will cover the doctors and surgeons costs, and you owe a combination of these costs when you're in the hospital.

As for not sending your medical bills to a collection agency, that would be based on the hospital's and individual doctor's billing practices, and not a set rule.
-Amy from

By Anonymous on March 09, 2016

There is an error on your page. "a Medigap plan will fill in the gaps such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance, as well as other benefits when seeking care outside of the VA, or outside of the U.S. and its territories." Medigap only pays when Medicare covers a claim. Since Medicare NEVER - well, only in rare border incidences - covers a claim outside the U.S., a person's Medigap plan is equally ineffective except for very limited coverage on some plans ($250 deductible, 80/20 split up to $50k)

Thank you for your comment. To clarify, Medigap does offer additional benefits that Medicare does not cover: It covers all or part of your first three pints of blood, adds an additional 365 days of hospitalization, and certain plans offer coverage for foreign emergency travel care within the first 60 days of your trip. If you want evacuation or non-health travel coverage, we always suggest you buy travel insurance. Hope this better explains it! Call us at 800-930-7956 with any further questions.
-Amy from

By Jim Bill on March 05, 2016

How come there are no answers for the CHOICE program, VA, and Medicare? There are things that I qualify for with CHOICE. Is Medicare part B needed? It seems that with CHOICE and VA all of my medical needs would be covered. I live in Denver CO, and to get in to see a specialty Dr. it is always at least more then the 30 days wait time required by CHOICE. Any answers would be very helpful. I cannot get a straight answer from the VA or Medicare. Thank you, Jim Bill

Jim Bill,
The only information that we have on CHOICE is that while all veterans receive a CHOICE card, you will not have access to the program at all times. It appears to be only allow eligibility on specific case by case bases. Now, I understand not wanting to pay for Part B; however, the VA highly recommends that you keep all private insurance/Medicare. For any other questions about CHOICE, you'll want to contact them directly.
-Eric from

By Gary Martin on February 16, 2016

I am currently seeing a VAMC doctor as my primary care physician, can I go to an outside doctor and get a new primary care physician under medicare?

If you have Medicare, you can see any doctor in the U.S. or its territories that accept Medicare assignment.
-Amy from

By CARLOS CORREIA on January 31, 2016


, We always say that the VA is the best place to answer this question, especially your local VA facility. The reason is some facilities are not equipped to treat certain illnesses; therefore, if you are not enrolled in Medicare, but become sick and your local VA cannot treat you, you'll have to wait to apply for Part B (Jan-March), then wait months for your effective date (July), and will owe a penalty. Please contact your VA office and Medicare to make your most informed decision.
-Jacima from

By Daniel Tedone on January 29, 2016

I am a 100% disabled veteran and also have Medicare as over 65. I was out of town when I had a medical emergency in location where there was no VA facility nearby. Which plan pays first, and what percentage Which pays balance and what percentage Thank you

If you are covered by the VA (not ChampVA) and are covered by Medicare, they do not work together. VA care works at VA facilities, Medicare works at any facility outside of the VA that accepts assignment. Not positive which one would cover your emergency, so you should contact both the VA and Medicare to find out.
-Eric from

By Susan hogan on January 27, 2016

My husband is 100% disabled veteran! I have medicare part a & b. and have va champ, I dropped my supplement (etna) to save the monthly payment and have informed va champ and was told after medicare pays they would pick up after I pay any deductablies, co pays etc. is this correct? I am hoping so because this has been a long process to get to this point. Thank you

Unfortunately, we are not experts on VA healthcare. You should contact the VA directly to find out how ChampVA works for your husband. Best of luck!
-Michelle from

By Bob on January 27, 2016

I am a Vet who has VA drug coverage. I also have medicare parts A and B coverage. If I am in a non-VA hospital and need medicine, will the VA drug coverage pay for those drugs? I am 200 miles from the nearest VA hospital.

The VA may cover your non-VA providers prescriptions BUT only if your VA doctor agrees that the drug prescribed is necessary. You may want to consider getting a Medicare prescription drug plan or other Medicare health plan to cover you since you are 200 miles away from a facility. Please call us at 800-930-7956 for further assistance.
-Chris from

By Vicki on January 27, 2016

I would be very cautious over dropping Medicare. There is NO way to waive Part A unless the beneficiary is in a premium part A situation or they have Not yet started their Social Security money benefits. A veteran may waive Part B, however that will result in delayed reinstatment and penalties if they later want it returned. Just a confirmation!

We 100% agree with you! Very sage advice, and what we always tell veterans, along with communicate with the VA before making any decisions.
-Amy from

By Arnold Schaffer on January 25, 2016

I am 91 years old and just found out that I am eligible for VA benefits; I served in WWII and Korea. I have been paying $157 per month through Social Security for Medicare (not really sure what part (A, B, C, D). I live very close to the VA in Dayton, Ohio. The VA says I have no co pay for any visits or procedures and a $8 Rx fee. How do I cancel and keep my $157 that I could really use for daily expenses?

You will want to contact Medicare to cancel Parts A and B, and if you have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or drug plan (Part D) contact those companies directly. We suggest before you cancel any Medicare plan, that you speak with the VA and ask if their facility does not have the ability to treat certain illnesses or injuries. Hope this helps!
-Jacima from

By William 01/06/2016 on January 07, 2016

I have been going to the VA since April 2015. I signed up for part A and B Medicare on December 30 2015. I would like to know if I get sick or in a traffic accident and took to a different hospital other than the Va. do I need to purchase part d for drugs and a supplement insurance to cover the cost of a non Va. hospital. I turn 65 in March

According to the VA you can receive and the VA will cover emergency care from non-VA facilities if "the VA cannot furnish economical care due to your distance from the facility; or when VA is unable to furnish the needed emergency services." Usually, once your condition is stable you would need to be moved to a VA facility, or the VA may stop paying for care.

With that said, if you want to use services outside of the VA for non-emergency care or for care that the VA does not cover, you may choose to enroll in a Medicare Supplement and Part D plan.
-Amy from

By Gene Cavenaugh on January 05, 2016

If I have Champ VA and also a supplemental insurance, do I need to retain my supplemental insurance?

According to the VA, no, you don't need both. But we suggest for every situation, you should contact the VA directly and get counseling from them. The reason is, if you were to give up your Medicare Supplement plan, and you decide you want it in the future, you most likely will have to answer medical questions, and you could be charged more or denied. Make sure not to cancel your Medigap plan until you receive information from the VA. Best of luck!
-Amy from

By Paul Jagla on January 02, 2016

I am a 68 year old veteran with 80% disability and using va for health care but also occasionally use wife's employers insurance which I am also covered on. I now want to sign up for part b and understand there is a late penalty but wonder if I still need to purchase medicare gap insurance and where do I get that if I do?

Good news! If you are covered under your wife's insurance, you may not owe a penalty for enrolling in Part B and have a guaranteed issuance period for Medigap (since it may be considered creditable coverage). The reason you may want to get a Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) is to cover most costs not associated with the VA. Get a Medigap quote and apply right from your computer. For any further questions, please call 800-930-7956.
-Eric from

By T. O. on December 21, 2015

Thanks for your reply and I would like to clarify my question as a retired Federal Employee I have blue cross and blue shield which I can use for doctor visit, dental, prescriptions etc. I never use the prescription benefits because as a 100% disable Vet there's no charge for any prescription I need.. I just got Medicare part A. And I have a few months to get B without a penalty .. Why would I need Medicare part B? I currently see a VA Doctor with no charge for anything. And I already have coverage from blue cross and blue shield if i want to see an outside doctor .. It seems to me any thing Medicare part B would cover, I already have coverage.. Even any co pays or deductibles if I did use an outside Doctor it would not be more than the $121.00 a month for the cost of Part B. Currently I'm in good health and do not see an outside Doctor... Please give me your opinion.. Thanks so much...

Thank you for the clarification. More than likely your BCBS plan will now work as a supplement to Medicare, and may require you to have both Part A and B. You will need to contact your HR department to confirm this. As for the second part, many clients choose to have Part B, because some services may not be available through the VA in their area (this is not true for everyone). You will want to contact the VA about this.
-Amy from

By TO on December 20, 2015

Im a 100% disable veteran I also have blue cross and blue shield do I need Medicare B ?...The VA clinic is 30 miles away there's no charge any services and no fee for prescriptions..

Your question rises a question for us, if you have BCBS what kind of coverage is that (individual, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, or prescription drug coverage)? If you have any of the last three, you probably have Part B already. If you don't have any of the last three, you can choose to not have Part B, but if you want it later you will owe a penalty and there is a specific enrollment period (Jan 1 -March 31), and your effective date would be July 1. Looking forward to hearing back from you.
-Amy from

By Marie on December 09, 2015

My husband is 74 years old and has just be granted a 10% service-related disability. We live very close to a VA hospital. It is my understanding that he is entitled to receive all of his healthcare at the VA, and that all healthcare provided by the VA at a VA facility would be cost free for him. (He has been diagnosed with dementia and possible Alzheimers by his private neurologist and has yet to have his first visit with his VA primary care.) What is the downside (if any) to dropping his Medicare Part B and/or his portion of my FEHP Blue Cross Blue Shield. Both coverages add up to several hundred dollars per month which we would love to use in other ways. I don't want to drop the additional coverage only to find that I made a drastic mistake, but I can't seem to get any consistent answers from the VA.

We understand this is a big decision. While we can't tell you to go one way or another, we can give you some things to consider.

1) If he gives up his Part B, he could owe a penalty. As well as, if he wanted to enroll in Part B there is only one general enrollment period each year (starts in Jan) and the effective date would be in July.

2) If he gives up his Supplement insurance, he may have a difficult time obtaining it in the future if he has medical conditions.

3) Some services may not be covered by the VA. You'll want to get a list of their care, to make an informed decision.

4) Good news is you'll still have Part A. That way if you need to be hospitalized outside of the VA, you'll have some coverage.

Hope this helps!
-Chris from

By Judy on November 27, 2015

My husband is 100% disabled through the VA and Social Security, I have ChampVA, I know I will need to apply for Medicare parts A and B, do I also need a supplemental gap insurance plan as well. I don't want to lose my ChampVA insurance.

There isn't really a straight answer for your question, as it's a personal decision. Keep in mind, you will not lose your ChampVA coverage if you enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance. With that said, ChampVA does not have a premium, and covers basically the same coverage as most Medigap plans, and may not need the additional coverage. Therefore, you will want to look over your ChampVA coverage and compare it to Medigap coverage, to see if it makes sense to you -as sometimes ChampaVA and Medicare's benefits do not overlap. Also, you will want to talk to the VA for their opinion. Hope this helps!
-Amy from

By Dapple on November 20, 2015

My 90 yo Veteran Health classified 8c father just received notification his supplemental insurance plan will not be offered in 2016. Does he really need a supplemental plan? He can get his one prescription thru VA. What, if any, benefit is a Supplemental plan?thank you!

Medicare Supplement plans cover the gaps of Original Medicare (ie. copays, coinsurance, and deductibles), and we believe it offers the greatest financial protection in case of serious injury or illness. However, f your father ONLY wants to get his care at the VA or he doesn't mind having to pay out (sometimes a lot of money) when he seeks care from non-VA doctors and facilities, then he may consider dropping his Medicare Supplement. With that said, we always suggest contacting the VA before making any decision on private health care.
-Jacima from

By michael on November 19, 2015

I am a disabled Vet. and have been getting healthcare through the VA, I just turned 65 and am enrolled in Medicare (a&b). I need a full knee replacement and have had logistical problems with the VA to get that done, what coverage would I need to get that done outside the VA and not have to "sell the farm" to get it done?

Since you just turned 65, you should be within your initial enrollment period to get a Medigap plan, such as Plan F. If you were to enroll in Plan F, it would cover your Medicare deductibles, copays, and coinsurance, and after your premium, you shouldn't have any out of pocket costs, as long as Medicare covers it. Now, if Medigap's premium is too high, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan, because it puts a max on your out of pocket spending at $6700. Hope this helps!
-Amy from

By pam on November 15, 2015

My Dad has Medicare a/b and is a veteran with full disability (PTSD). He was just diagnosed with GBM and will be undergoing treatment with both radiation and oral chemotherapy. GBM is terminal ( 1 to 1and1/2 year avg)with treatment. What other medicare coverage should he have?

Your father can apply for a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan in his area. Please call us at 800-930-7956, so that we can help him find a plan in his area.
-Eric from

By Claudia on November 12, 2015

My husband (67 years) has Medicare part A and B, plan D and VA benifits (20% disabled). Should he purchase a Medigap policy to ensure ample coverage such as plan F? The VA does not dispense a drug that he must take except in a generic form and since we have benefit insurance coverage from the company he retired from we were told we had to purchase a plan D, so I feel like we are keeping that plan for two prescriptions. If a plan F is purchased can plan D be dropped?

Medigap Plan F would be a great option for your husband when he seeks care in a non-VA facility. However, Medigap plans do not offer drug coverage, so he would still need to keep his Part D. Please let us know if you need help finding a plan.
-Michelle from

By Dean on November 11, 2015

I am a 71 year old disabled (40%, Service Connected) Vietnam Vet. All my medical treatment has come from the VA 20 miles from home. I also pay for Part B and a supplemental Blue Shield Plan F and D (which I have not used for the past 6 years). Is there any reason to continue paying for the Supplemental Plans ?

We totally understand why you would consider dropping these plans. Things you may want to consider is that, as one of people who commented below experienced, some services may not be available through the VA. So, if you still want the availability to see doctors outside of the VA, you'll at least want to keep your Part B benefit, and then you'll want to consider if you want to keep the Medigap and Part D (as you can get your drugs from the VA). Something to remember that once you give up Medigap, it can be difficult to be approved, and usually you'll pay more than if you kept your plan. Please call us if you would like more help on this subject at 800-930-7956.
-Eric from

By Jerry on November 05, 2015

I have copd and asbestosis and just got back from VA clinic today. I've been receiving some of my care from VA for couple of yrs. and my private Dr. I'm using oxygen from concentrator furnished by local provider through my private Dr. but the VA Dr told me today VA can furnish my Oxygen also. Since we didn't have time to discuss it much how does that work since I only have a medicare advantage plan? Does my plan pay the provider that the VA selects to provide my oxygen ??? BTW...not service connected. Currently my M/A plan pays 80% and I pay the co-ins.....20%.

Unfortunately, we won't be able to give you a straight answer for a few reasons. If the VA is covering your oxygen, it would depend on how you are covered through them. Since, the VA is totally separate from Medicare, you'll want to contact the VA directly for this information.

As for Medicare Advantage, since each plan covers each service and item differently, you'll want to look over your Medicare Advantage summary of benefits, to see how they cover oxygen -however, Medicare Advantage will not cover oxygen purchased through a VA facility or pharmacy. Hope this puts you in the right direction to get you answers.
-Chris from

By Janet Wagner on November 04, 2015

My father is 87 and has medicare A and B. He also has VA benefits but he did not serve during war. I am placing him in assisted living (self pay 2 years) then he will be medicaid waiver eligible. He has supplemental insurance that I want to cancel to help pay for his assisted living. I am switching him to the VA for his primary care. His supplemental insurance does not have assisted living coverage. Can I cancel his supplemental insurance? Thank you.

You can cancel his Medicare Supplement, however you'll want to consider a few things. 1) If he cancels his Supplement (Medigap), he'll have to pay out of pocket for his portion of Medicare services when he is unable to seek care at the VA, 2) The VA may have some limited care for certain illnesses, and 3) If he cancels his Medigap plan, it may be difficult for him to get one in the future. Hope this helps!
-Jacima from

By Wallace Grider on November 02, 2015

I am 100% VA coverage and need to know if I need to get a supplemental policy - Schedule D.. My wife is retiring and cannot put me on her COBRA policy. I am 65 so I have Medicare Schedule B but just not sure if I need the extra supplemental policy or not.

Thank you for your question. If you want to get Medicare Supplement insurance will depend on whether you plan to use doctors and facilities outside of the VA. If you do, and you want to limit your financial liability, considering adding a Medigap plan may be a good choice for you. Please contact us at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By FS on October 30, 2015

My husband will be 65 soon. He is wondering if he can buy a supplemenal policy (F) and use medicare facilities and physicians while using the VA only for his Rx skipping the purchase of a plan D? The posts about the VA and Medicare not coordinating benefits made us wonder if they would fill an Rx from outside the VA system of physicians. He has never used the VA for healthcare. We live quite a distance from the nearest center so is this available for mail order? Currently under a higher priced retiree plan but exploring options as the costs vary so much and we receive daily offers in the mail!

Thank you for your question. If your husband wants to fill his prescriptions through the VA, but from a non-VA provider (a doctor that accepts Medicare assignment), there are certain criteria he would have to meet:

1) He must be enrolled in VA benefits AND
2) He must have a VA PCP (primary care physician) AND
3) He has given his VA doctor his medical records from his Medicare doctor AND
4) His VA doctor determines that the prescription is necessary and the correct drug for your husband to take.

So he'll have to go into the VA to be approved for any prescription drugs, and it appears that he must fill his original prescription at the window, and then he can get refills (if available) by mail. However, he should confirm with his VA physician's office if he can do a straight mail-order.
-Amy from

By Kramer on October 27, 2015

My father is 68 years old and 100% service connected and gets all his care for his service connection from the VA medical center he has been going for 40 years. When he turned 65 he was told or advised he did not need to enroll in Part B but he did enroll in Part A. He was diagnosed with 2 rare primary cancers this past couple of months and the VA has minimal experience treating this but we live near the best cancer center for his cancer that takes Medicare. When we called Open Enrollment is not until Jan to March but benefits will not start until July. Is there any options for my dad? He served his country and was given the wrong advice from the VA but if he waits until benefits in July he can either die or lose his house with the medical bills. We owe our veterans a little compassion. Would he qualify for Medigap? Please help.

Since the VA does not count as creditable coverage, he may have to wait until January to enroll. And, to get Medigap, he would need to answer medical questions, and could be denied.

However, if he had job-based insurance or other creditable coverage until now (on top of the VA benefits), then more than likely would qualify to enroll in Part B when he leaves his job or loses that coverage, and would have a guaranteed issuance period for Medigap.

Please call us at 800-930-7956, so that we can better help with your specific situation.
-Michelle from

By Robert Potter on October 26, 2015

I am 50% VA disabled and I also am enrolled in Medicare Part B. How does the new Veterans Choice program affect the necessity of retaining my Medicare Part B? Does this not mean I can now receive local care outside of the VA system...thus making Medicare redundant?

Unfortunately, we don't know enough about the new Veteran's Choice Program to give you an answer. We suggest you contact the VA directly for help with this.
-Chris from

By james jackson on October 20, 2015

I am 20% service connect disable. I am 69 years old. currently I have Medicare A,B,and D. I also have BCBS as supplemental. with Medicare and BCBS I am paying over $600 monthly for coverage which is a hardship on a person on fix income. I live 60 plus miles from VA facility. do I need to continue with Medicare B

We totally understand that paying that much extra can be daunting. However, if you want to keep your Medicare Supplement (Medigap), you'll need to keep Part B. As well as, if you drop Medicare Part B, you'll only be able to visit VA facilities -which seems like it could be a long drive for you if you needed to drive 60 plus miles to visit a doctor. You may want to contact the VA for their opinion on this matter. Hope this helps!
-Chris from

By Judy on October 16, 2015

I need a quote on a Medigap Plan F

Not a problem. Click here to get the majority of our Medigap quotes. If you would like help, please call 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By Harley Barber on October 14, 2015

I'm 10% service connected, live near the VA and have been receiving all my care there. I'm 70, recently retired and trying to decide on the medicare part B. I intend to get as much of my care as possible from VA, but wonder what kinds of things I might be forced to need part B for? Can you give some pertinent examples? Thanks.

You'll use your Medicare Part B to see doctors, coverage for certain drugs for cancer, get a second opinion before surgery, and physical, speech, and occupational therapy outside of the VA. Hope this helps!
-Chris from

By Winston Savage on October 12, 2015

I am 68 and currently employed. I am enrolled in my workplace's insurance plan and also have medicare A & B. I am planning to cancel my workplace insurance. Should I get a medicare supplement plan? I am a Veteran who served in Vietnam for 6 yrs. I am not disabled. Thank you for your assistance.

If you want to see doctors and use facilities outside of the VA, and want to limit your personal medical costs, a Medigap plan is a great option. Also, we always suggest that veterans contact the VA to confirm their benefits before making any decision. Hope this helps!
-Chris from

By william Alan Rossin on October 03, 2015

I am a 100% disabled veteran, but I also have medicare and a part d plan. I would like to get a medigap plan so I can go to doctors other than the VA. I have been told I must wait to turn 65 before I can get a medigap plan in Virginia. Is that true?

William, -Chris from

By W on September 16, 2015

I was employed and retired at 70 from Geae, I've been notified that my GE healthcare supplemental policy will be terminated Jan.1-2016 . I would like a policy of equal worth or better to fill the slot for my personal protection. After working until 70. I would hate to lose it all for a medical problem. Am currently on the VA Rx program.

Thank you for your question. We'd love to be able to help you find a comparable plan. We would need a little more information to get you a quote, please call us at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from

By charles zilinsky on September 05, 2015

how do i register to use my va benefits for medical. i was in the service fom 1968 to 1978 and haven't ised any benefits except for housing.

You'll want to contact your local VA to help you figure out your medical benefits. Hope this helps!
-Jacima from

By Paul Porterfield on September 04, 2015

I turn 65 in March of 2016 and go to the local VA office in Pensacola FL. They have treated me very well despite what you see on TV. Is it really necessary for me to sign up for any type of Medicare coverage if all my treatments are at my local clinic? I am on a fixed income and every dollar counts. Thank you, Paul

Most people will automatically be signed up for Medicare Part A (hospital coverage), and will not have to pay a premium for that care. If you decide that you want to receive all of your care at VA facilities, then you can choose to not enroll in Part B (medical coverage), and save the premium costs. With that said, we always suggest you speak with the VA before making any decisions about your health care.
-Chris from

By Rocco Terrizzi on September 04, 2015

I am a Veteran 50% service-connected. I have used the VA system for ALL of my care since 1993. I turn 65 this October 2015, and was enrolled automatically by Social Security Administration into Medicare. I am being told they will start to take out for Medicare Part B $104 which I do not plan to use. I am happy with the VA system. How do I tell SSA NOT to take out the Part B premium?

If you don't want to plan on using facilities outside of the VA and have decided you don't want Medicare Part B benefits, you'll want to delay it by calling the number on the back of your red, white, and blue Medicare card, or there should be instructions on the original letter they sent you. Hope this helps.
-Amy from

By Michael joynt on August 30, 2015

10% VA connected, turning 65 in 5 months what Medicare should I go on?

Deciding which Medicare plan you should enroll in depends on a few things.

1) If you are planning to receive all of your care at a VA facility, then your VA benefits would cover you;

2) If you are planning on receiving your benefits at non-VA facilities, if it is within your budget and you prefer having a large network, you may want to with A) Medigap, to cover your deductibles, copays, and coinsurance, OR, if you are on a budget, and don't mind a local, HMO type network, you may want to go with B) Medicare Advantage, to limit your out of pocket spending, and add extras like drug and dental coverage.

Let us know if you have any further questions.
-Chris from

By walter holbert on July 22, 2015

I am 40% service connected , priority group 2 ,and turning 65 soon. I have questions about medicare A & B and VA care.Who do I contact @ the VA for some answers?

Thank you for your question. Go to the Veterans' Affairs website and you should find a contact number there to help you.
-Chris from

By George Gadsby on July 10, 2015

I am rated at a 20% service rated disability. Do I need to carry part "D" and a supplemental plan as well? I will be needing hip surgery and cataract surgery in the future.

Good question. Enrolling in Part D and Medigap depends on two things 1) If your VA benefits will cover you enough at a VA facility 2) If you plan on only using doctors and pharmacy outside of VA facilities. If you plan on only using VA facilities and pharmacies, and it covers enough, then you probably would not need to enroll. If not, then yes you would want to consider both Medigap and separate drug coverage.
-Jacima from

By John J. Hickey on June 27, 2015

I am on the VA and Medicare B and Blue Cross supplement. I am 67 with diabetes. I am having extensive dental work done and need prescription drugs that the Va does not cover. I also wondered what happens if I have to go to a hospital that is not a VA hospital, will I need Medicare part D to cover the cost of any prescriptions or medications I need there? Thank you

Thank you for your question. If you get your prescriptions from somewhere outside of a VA facility, you will need Part D, BUT if you are getting drugs administered in non-VA hospital, those drugs should be covered by Part B and Medigap (if it covers your Part B copay/coinsurance). Hope this helps!
-Chris from

By Doug G on June 16, 2015

i turn 65 next month. Currently I use Tricare Standard and a supplement. I am 50% VA service connected. I get all my care form civilian providers under current coverage even though I receive disability compensation for a couple of my conditions. Next month My civilian healthcare provider is going to require that I fill out a form for each visit on which one of my certifications is that my current visit is or is not for a condition for which I receive VA benefits. Under Medicare will I be able to see my civilian provider and not have to do VA coordination or seek care from the VA for those service connected conditions. I will also be enrolled in Tricare For Life. This is all too confusing.

Thank you for your question. Under Medicare, you should be covered up to their limits without having coordination of care -since VA benefits, as far as we know, are only handled at VA facilities once you turn 65, and Medicare benefits are only covered at Medicare assigned facilities (which do not include VA facilities).

Many veterans enroll in an MA or Medigap plan to limit their coverage at civilian facilities. As always, we suggest to contact the VA to confirm your health coverage with them. Hope this helps.
-Chris from

By Jeff on June 07, 2015

I was discharged from the Navy in 1976 and have been using the VA as my only source for medical care....since that time. I would like to know what would cause my VA benefits to be dropped? An act of Congress? Not what then?

By jim on June 06, 2015

I have a 20% service connected disability rating confirmed by VA and am happy with my VA care. Can I forgo signing up for part B at 65?

You absolutely can forgo signing up for Part B but there can be a penalty if you sign up later, as you'll see by the comment below, there are other reasons to consider enrolling. As always, we suggest that you contact the VA for their suggestion.
-Amy from

By ron bacon on June 04, 2015

I will be 65 in September and was wondering if I have to get the medicare plan B ,the reason I ask is that I am 100% covered by the VA due to being wounded I have a purple heart which puts me in level 3 priority .I have been receiving full medical and prescriptions for the last 3 years and live about 30 miles from the VA hospital , it seems odd that I would have to get the plan b if I chose to get all my medical done at the VA hospital .can you advise?

We totally understand why this is confusing. You don't need to enroll in Medicare Part B if you have VA benefits; however, there are a few things you will want to consider before choosing not to enroll.
    1) If you enroll in Part B later on you may owe a Part B late penalty
    2) There are only specific periods in which you can enroll in Part B later on
    3) If you require care not offered by VA doctors for more day to day services (Part A will cover your hospitalization coverage), you would have to pay it all out of pocket until you can enroll in Part B.
Our main suggestion is contact the VA for their opinion. Hope this helps.
-Amy from

By Jeff on May 07, 2015

I am a veteran and am 60% disabled as confirmed by the VA. What will happen to my VA coverage for myself when I turn 65? Also, my wife is 10 years younger than I am so what will happen to her Tricare coverage when I turn 65 and when she turns 65?

Great questions. Many veterans and their spouses are able to keep their VA benefits past 65, but you want to check with the VA to see what tier you fall under, and how your benefits are covered. If you don't get to keep full benefits, you may want to consider a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan. Please keep us up to date on what you find out.
-Chris from

By Stu on April 25, 2015

1. does a Medigap policy have a waiting period with preexisting condition having had coverage with VA benefits? 2. Which Medicare option would best benefit an existing cancer patient?

Thank you for questions. Here are the answers to your questions
    1) If you have creditable coverage leading up to enrolling in Medigap, generally your Medigap provider cannot place a waiting period on preexisting conditions.
    2) Most of our clients who have cancer or other serious illnesses find that Medigap Plan F (since it covers everything that Medigap covers) offers the most benefits.

We suggest that you call us for your specific situation at 800-930-7956.

PLEASE NOTE: We cannot comment on specific Medicare claims. Contact Medicare directly if you are trying to see if your issue is covered.

We will not publish your last name or email if you submit this form.

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