Medicare Advantage for Veterans

Medicare Advantage for veterans may not seem essential for retirees who use VA or TRICARE health coverage. However, it could be more beneficial than you realize. While some healthcare coverage can have limitations, you can combine Medicare Advantage with VA and TRICARE health coverage.

Medicare Advantage and VA Combination

The VA pushes you to have Original Medicare so that you can receive a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. MA plans include the same basic coverages but have extra benefits that are not found in Original Medicare. This combination of Medicare Advantage and VA can help you in many ways:

  • Sometimes VA facilities have long wait times.
  • MA plans cover all your needs in one handy plan.
  • It also covers you when you are traveling outside of the U.S.
  • Eligibility for VA health coverage is subject to change. It is not guaranteed.
  • MA plans put an out-of-pocket maximum on your healthcare, which Original Medicare does not do.

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Medicare Advantage Benefits

Medicare requires Medicare Advantage plans to offer the benefits that Original Medicare does, like lab tests, surgery, inpatient hospital care, home health care, etc. But MA plans can provide additional benefits, such as:

  • Nutrition programs
  • Fitness memberships
  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • Adult day-care services
  • Dental, Hearing, and Vision
  • Transportation to doctor visits
  • And more

Remember that your eligibility for benefits will vary depending on your area and plan providers.

When to Enroll

There are set times when you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan:

Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP)

ICEP is a seven-month period that is your first opportunity to choose a Medicare health plan. It starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. If you are under 65 and you receive Social Security disability, you are eligible for Medicare in the 25th month after you begin receiving your Social Security benefits.  

Annual Election Period (AEP)

Also known as open enrollment, the AEP is October 15 through December 7 each year. Once January hits, coverage for your selected Medicare Advantage plan will begin. During this time, you may also add, change, or drop current coverage.   

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

During this period, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. Or, you can end it to return to Original Medicare. 

Special Election Period

Many factors can stimulate a special election period and they are unique to an individual. It’s best to speak with a licensed Medicare insurance agent to find out whether you qualify for a special election period. However, there are a few common situations, like if you move outside your Advantage plan’s service area, move into a nursing home, or qualify for additional aid, you could be eligible for this special election period. You can institute changes to your Medicare Advantage plan during this period or go back to Original Medicare. 

If you have questions or would like more information about Medicare Advantage for Veterans, call 830-217-6711 to speak with a Medicare specialist.

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