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Do Veterans with Veterans Health Benefits need Medicare Part B?

us-flagsMany veterans, and some active-duty service people wonder if they need to enroll in Medicare Part B as soon as they qualify. Most people over 65 qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, but they are required to pay a premium for Part B. This year, this premium is $104.90 for most eligible people, but that figure could change at any time. Do people who already have the ability to access health care benefits through the VA need to spend extra money for Part B?

Medicare and Veterans health benefits
The US Department of Veterans Affairs discusses several different types of health insurance options with people who qualify for veteran's health benefits. The first thing that they mention is that even though veterans may qualify for a health program, they should not consider a veteran's plan as health insurance. The second caution is that there is absolutely no guarantee that Congress will authorize the same benefits for next year as veterans or even active-duty service people and their families enjoy today. Any people in lower-priority enrollment groups are especially at risk each year.

What happens if you lack Part B Medicare coverage:

• You could have to wait for the next enrollment period to pick up Part B if you decline it when you are initially eligible.

• You could even get penalized at reinstatement. This penalty is applied each month when Part B premiums get billed, so it is a lifetime penalty. Typically, the price goes up 10 percent for each 12-month period when you could have had benefits but did not enroll.

Meanwhile, enrolling in Medicare Part B gives you choices. You are still free to access a veteran's health center for treatment. Under some circumstances, the VA health center might not be the most convenient or best option, and you can choose to use your Medicare benefits instead. For example, some veterans may choose to have major surgery done through the VA to avoid Medicare deductibles and copayments. However, they may choose to get prescriptions and routine checkups at a more convenient location that accepts Medicare assignment.

Additionally, some veterans also opt to take out supplements or Medicare Advantage plans to maximize their Medicare benefits.

• While supplements do charge a monthly premium, these vary by the plan level. Veterans who already enjoy veterans benefits might be happier with one of the cheaper supplements because they always have the option of choose a VA health center for expensive medical services.

• Some Medicare Advantage (MA) plans do not even charge an additional monthly premium, and a few even refund part of the Part B premium. Still, they can give veterans a convenient way to access covered medical services via a network doctor or other health professional who is close to their home.

• If you have specific questions about your specific situation, you are free to discuss it with a representative of the VA at this toll-free number: 1-877-222-8387.

We want to help you maximize your health benefits
At Trusted Senior Specialists, we have a lot of experience working with veterans and Medicare recipients. Contact us at your earliest convenience to find a sensible way to make the most of your benefits, ensure access to convenient and high-quality medical services, and save money! Please contact us at 1-855-474-6234 or schedule an appointment by clicking this link: http://www.meetme.so/medicare.

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