Veterans covered by the VA or TRICARE have a decision to make when it comes to enrolling in Medicare at age 65. Let’s dig deeper into the options that are available and what to look out for when planning for Medicare coverage.
Do I need Medicare?
TRICARE beneﬁciaries who qualify for premium-free Part A are required to sign up for Part B, once eligible, in order to continue their TRICARE coverage through TRICARE For Life.
*VA beneﬁciaries who seek care at a VA facility are not required to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B, but the VA highly encourages individuals to do so. According to their website:
Can I Get Other Coverage?
- Can sign up for a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan to get access to Medicare facilities and providers outside of the VA network.
- Can sign up for Part D to receive medications prescribed by non-VA physicians, and pick up prescriptions at local pharmacies instead of through the VA mail-order program.
TRICARE For Life Beneﬁciaries
- Can sign up for a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage. However, TRICARE For Life is the secondary payer for Medicare, but will become the payer of last resort if you have Medicare Supplement coverage (duplication of coverage).
- TRICARE will pay copays and coinsurance of a Medicare Advantage plan, but you must submit a request for reimbursement to TRICARE.
- TRICARE beneﬁciaries with limited income and resources may qualify for extra help from Medicare to pay for Part D premiums, deductibles, and cost sharing.