For military veterans with Medicare and their caregivers, the Annual Election Period (AEP) for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans is a critical time. You’ll want to assess that your health care coverage to ensure you select the best possible health plan to cover your doctor visits, medical equipment, medications and other needs, within your budget in the coming year. To help you with this process, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, let’s set the record straight on four common misperceptions about veterans and Medicare.
Myth #1: My health coverage is covered by the VA, so I don’t need Medicare.
Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan may be a good supplement to VA benefits as it may help ensure that there aren’t any gaps in your health-care coverage. Medicare and VA health-care benefits are separate and do not work together. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, it may provide Medicare-eligible veterans with additional services and location options, as well as prescription-drug coverage.
Myth #2: All parts of Medicare are the same.
Medicare options vary. For example, Medicare Part A helps cover inpatient hospital and skilled nursing-home care, limited home health services and hospice. Medicare Part B helps cover services from doctors and other health-care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, as well as many preventative services. With Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, all the benefits under Part A and B are covered through a private insurer, such as Humana, which may also include additional benefits such as fitness center memberships, a nurse advice hotline, and dental, hearing and vision coverage. Finally, Medicare Part D helps cover prescription drugs.
Myth #3: There is no way to save money on health-care plans.
There are ways to save money when choosing a Medicare plan, such as considering the total value of the Medicare plan you select along with your health, medical and budget needs for the coming year.
Myth #4: I’m on my own.
Licensed insurance agents with Medicare expertise can help you select the coverage that best meets your needs. Let them know if you’re eligible for VA health care or a TRICARE for Life member, and if your spouse is eligible for CHAMPVA health care, as those details will help determine the best options for you.
Use helpful online resources and call centers to make a confident decision for next year.