How Medicare & VA Benefits Work Together
Medicare and the (VA) Department of Veteran’s Affairs are 2 separate medical coverage programs and you may have access to each of these; Medicare and VA benefits if you served in the military. So how do these different types of health coverage work together?
When using a VA Hospital
Generally, your VA benefits will cover the costs if you receive medical care at a VA hospital because doctors under the VA plan are used. So, it’s not necessarily going to be any need for submitting any claims to Medicare. In some cases, Medicare may also cover services covered by the VA benefits allowing you to choose which provider you want to use.
You cannot use both Medicare benefits as well as VA benefits at the same time as stated on the site for Medicare. Exceptions are only made if you are sent to a hospital (which is not a VA hospital) by the (VA). For this you will use the Medicare insurance plan for covering these services the VA won’t.
When filing your own claim:
For those veterans who do not live near any VA hospitals; they can get fee-based identification cards to use for treatments at health care facilities or doctor’s offices. Make sure you call ahead of time prior to accepting an appointment to make sure the provider accepts the card. All providers do not accept these cards.
These processes can vary depending on which provider is being used and their preferences. Make sure you check with your providers on filing claims.
VA Benefit Drug Plans
Many patients who fail to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan on time will have to pay a penalty. There’s a good way to avoid the penalty if you have VA coverage.
Prior to the due date, enroll in a creditable dug plan avoiding any penalties. More cost effective plans may be offer by the VA medical benefits. Contesting penalty invoices can be done if you can prove you had a creditable drug plan within the 63 days of applying for Medicare benefits.
Having both VA and Medicare benefits can be very beneficial in terms of Medicare picking up the slack where the VA medical benefits won’t cover. Plus, you will enjoy more flexibility if you have both.