Are you a Veteran with Medicare benefits? Here's what to consider before Dec. 7 | Opinion

·3 min read

Individuals eligible for Medicare, including veterans, have an important decision to make before Dec. 7, the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period deadline.

Selecting the plan best suited for your individual health needs is a critical decision, as the plan you select is the coverage you’ll have for all of 2022, with few exceptions. For Medicare beneficiaries who also receive health care benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, there’s even more to consider.

Medicare plans can compliment VA benefits

Veterans should know that a Medicare Advantage plan may complement their existing VA benefits (not TRICARE or CHAMPVA) and may help reduce gaps in their health care coverage. Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan may provide access to additional services and benefits, like urgent care and dental coverage – which may not be covered by VA health care.

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When looking into your options, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan designed with veterans in mind. For example, Humana Honor plans, which are available to anyone eligible for Medicare, may provide additional benefits like dental care with a $0 monthly plan premium. Although Humana Honor plans are designed with veterans in mind, Medicare-eligible veterans can select from any Medicare Advantage plan in their area.

Another important factor to understand is how Medicare Advantage works with TRICARE and CHAMPVA. As veterans may know, TRICARE for Life coverage is generally “richer” than other types of coverage, so Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug plans are not recommended for veterans with TRICARE or CHAMPVA. Veterans with this type of coverage should carefully consider how their coverage would be impacted by enrollment in Medicare Advantage.

If you have TRICARE for Life or CHAMPVA and decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, the Medicare Advantage plan will become your primary coverage and you would only be able to see providers in the Medicare Advantage plan’s network. In addition, enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan would require the Tricare for Life or CHAMPVA to be responsible for coordinating billing and claims information with their provider.

Therefore, Medicare Advantage plans are not recommended for TRICARE for Life or CHAMPVA beneficiaries and they may only want to consider enrolling in a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan if they can coordinate billing and do not mind being limited to a network of providers.

Advantages for having both

There are certainly advantages to having both Medicare Advantage and VA benefits, and Medicare-eligible veterans should look into all of their options to consider whether a Medicare Advantage plan would meet their needs and if so, select from any Medicare Advantage plan in their area.

To help determine the best combination for you, be sure to leverage available resources, such as educational events and one-on-one meetings with licensed sales agents. Start researching plan options now to make your selection confidently by the deadline.

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Aaron McCoy
Aaron McCoy

For more information, eligible individuals can go to www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). Beneficiaries can also learn about Humana Medicare Advantage plans, which are recommended by USAA, by going to www.Humana.com or calling 1-800-213-5286 (TTY: 711). Licensed sales agents are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, HMO SNP, PPO, PPO SNP and PFFS organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal.

Aaron McCoy is a Veteran Channel Executive at Humana. He has worked for Humana for 8 years and has worked as the Northeast Region Veteran Executive since 2018. He is an Army Veteran who served almost 8 years on active duty and in the National Guard.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Are you a Veteran with Medicare benefits? Here's what to consider| Opinion

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