Veterans and Medicare
About half of the people I work with on their Medicare are Veterans. Often times these folks go to the VA for all of their care and do not receive any care outside the VA from civilian doctors unless it’s a medical emergency.
That being said, having affordable coverage options outside the VA is always in the Veteran’s best interests.
There are private Medicare health plans, called Medicare Advantage Plans that can provide affordable back up coverage outside the VA. At the same time these plans provide some extra benefits that you do not get from original Medicare.
I’m going to list the pros and cons of this type of coverage.
1) These plans have little or no monthly premium
2) These plans will NO impact on your VA coverage
3) These plans will financially protect you in the event of an emergency/urgent care situation in all 50 states and US territories. Most plans will cover you for world-wide emergency care (Original Medicare only covers you domestically)
4) These plans will provide you many extra benefits that you do not get from original Medicare, including: Part D Prescription Drug Coverage, Dental, Vision, Hearing, Silver Sneakers, Over the Counter items, transportation, etc…
5) These plans will provide you affordable access to care outside the VA should you ever decide to go that route. This would be your decision and your decision, alone.
6) Depending on the county in Florida you reside, there are Medicare Advantage Plans that offer Part B Reimbursements up to $131.00 per month to offset the cost of Part B (HMO plans only)
7) Co-Pays for services are affordable and predictable. Often times the cost care is less expensive to a Medicare Advantage Plan than what it would be with original Medicare, especially in an emergency.
The restrictions on Medicare Advantage Plans is that they are network driven health plans. If you do join a plan and you are seeing doctors outside the VA and you want to keep seeing your provider or providers, make sure your doctor is “in-network” and accepts the coverage.
Whereas with straight Medicare you can see any doctor anywhere in the country that accepts Medicare (approximately 97% of doctors across the country accept Medicare) In contrast, with a Medicare Advantage Plans you must abide by the network. If you sign up for an HMO, you will need to choose a primary care doctor and that doctor will make referrals to see Specialists. You will need to stay in network, unless an emergency situation arises. With a PPO, you will not need referrals and you will be covered out of network. However, your cost will be higher than in-network.
Call me and we can go over your situation and we can see if this form of coverage is right for you.