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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Open Enrollment Medicare for Veterans 64 and Beyond, Part III

As a Veteran, I understand the importance of knowing how you are covered and what you are covered for. Veterans who have coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or TRICARE may think that this is simply enough, however, there are instances in which you will want to ensure that you have the right support and coverage needed even for the unexpected. 

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) goal is to collaborate and facilitate joint healthcare activities with the Department of Defense (DoD) to bring about the awareness and access to its Veterans. TRICARE is the regionally managed health insurance program utilized by the Department of Defense (DoD) for retirees and their families, as well as, our uniformed service members.

Eligibility is determined by the military services (see below under Did You Know?). CHAMPVA is a VA program that covers the healthcare costs for the spouse, surviving spouse or a child of a Veteran who has disabilities or who is deceased.

Creditable coverage is any healthcare coverage that is as good as Medicare. When you have creditable coverage, you and your beneficiaries can delay your enrollment in Medicare without fear of being penalized and later paying an enrollment penalty. 

Having coverage through the Veteran Administration (VA) is considered creditable coverage for Medicare Part D (prescription drug) only. Your VA benefits are not considered creditable coverage for Medicare Parts A and B. Only insurance from an employer can be utilized in lieu of Medicare Part B. A premium is usually associated with Part B, you must meet yearly deductibles and pay 20 percent for the cost of your care. There is no limit to your out-of-pocket costs each year. Having VA benefits will not affect Medicare costs; you can qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A. 

It is recommended that veterans neither decline nor cancel coverage under Medicare or any other healthcare insurance programs because they have services provided for by the VA. You can choose to have private insurance, through yourself or spouse, as a supplement to your VA healthcare benefits. Although there is a cost associated with having Medicare Part B, veterans who do not qualify for dental care from the VA will benefit from this coverage.

Did You Know?

TRICARE (https://tricare.mil)

Eligibility requirements for TRICARE:

Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System – DEERS 1-800-538-9552.

Defense Manpower Data Center (https://milconnect.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect/)

Mental health is continually being addressed as it hits home to many of our Veterans. You have access to caring and qualified responders. Please contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

La-Villa Brooks, MPA is the founder of Brooks Home and Healthcare Management and is an Army Veteran. She has worked as a Project Leader for Local, State and Federal agencies in case management. She is a Certified Application Counselor for healthcare in the Marketplace, in addition to certifications with CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and HIPAA. She is a member of GPNY (Gerontology Professionals of New York) and NAIPC Member (National Aging In Place). Email inquiries to:[email protected] or call 631-838-1105.

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