Do disabled veterans need Medicare?

4 answers | Last updated: Jan 27, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Do veterans who are disable due to their service need Medicare Part B?

Expert Answers

A veteran who is eligible for both VA medical benefits and Medicare may enroll in both programs and receive benefits from both. For any specific medical treatment or service, however, a veteran enrolled in both programs has to choose one or the other. Whether you need Medicare Part B as well as veterans health benefits depends on how you would answer the following questions:

1. Do you feel that the care you receive through the VA is complete and satisfactory? If so, you may not need to use Medicare Part B, and so there is little or no point in paying the monthly premium for Medicare Part B coverage. But if you are not completely satisfied with the care you receive through the VA -- for example, in your choice of doctors, or in the time you have to wait to receive care -- then paying for Medicare Part B coverage might sometimes provide you with more satisfactory care.

2. Are you regularly left with bills to pay despite VA coverage? Some veterans have to pay a copayment for medical care through the VA. If you have a VA copayment, Medicare Part B might be able to pay all or part of that copayment if you receive VA-authorized care from a doctor or facility that is not actually part of the VA system. The higher your monthly copayments for services that Medicare Part B might help with, the more sense it makes to enroll in Medicare Part B.

3. How well can you afford the monthly Medicare Part B premium of $96.40? If you are receiving adequate but not completely satisfactory care through the VA, and you have only very small VA copayments, then the question of whether you want the extra coverage of Medicare Part B depends on whether the monthly Part B premium is worth the greater choice of providers you would have if you also were enrolled in Medicare Part B.

Community Answers

Mrplate answered...

Yes. Point blank, and right on. I feel more confident in my choice now.

Crisbol answered...

Yes it was, so far my husband has received good health care at the VA. He is 130% disabled, so he gets everything with no copay. I am going to unenroll him in medicare, he doesn't need it. Thanks

Army dude answered...

Turning off Part B is a bad idea. The VA itself does not recommend it ( You earned both, why turn off the one thing that wll allow you to get care outside the VA? Most vets do it to save the Part B premium. Did you know that there are programs out there to help pay your Part B if you have limited income. With Part B, you can get into Medicare Plans, some at no additional cost. There will be copays associated with these plans, but you may want the coverage. Let's say you disagree with the VA. Where do you get a second opinion? Door number 2 - I don't think so. With Medicare, for the average price of 45$, you could go see specialist - without a referral and get a second opinion outside the VA. How much is your life worth? Mine is worth 45$. What happens on Sunday and you wake up with the flu? VA ER? clinic is not open. No part B, get to riding or pay full price at the urgent care center. Need a knee replacement? VA will do it, but do you want them to? How many knees do you have? Where will it be done? When? Got Part B and medicare plan? For about $600 bucks you could get your knee done by a knee specialist - AKA the "Knee Guy". RAND did a study and %60 of senior veterans who have VA healthcare use their Medicare more often than they do VA. I'm 80% and I use my private doctor more often than I do the VA. USE BOTH - get your non-VA doctor to work on you, take your records from him to your PCP at the VA, get the VA to prescribe you the medications you need (much cheaper than non- VA pharmacy.) That's what you need to do. Before you turn off Part B, speak to a license medicare agent. Poo house lawyers don't know everything. Good luck comrades.