Should a U.S. Military Veteran sign up for Medicare? Many Medicare agents shy away from this question because they don’t know much about Veteran benefits and how they might be able to assist. As an agent working with Medicare products, it’s vital that you understand the basics of Veteran benefits and how they work with or without Medicare.
Working with Veterans
Working with Veterans can be very rewarding. Like working with any other client, we recommend taking the time to learn about them, their experience, and which branch of the military they served in. This is an important part of building your relationship with your clients. From there, you can help them understand which products and solutions are best for them.
Regardless of military benefits, all Veterans must sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B and pay their Part B premiums. This is especially important for those who may already be receiving military benefits before age 65.
Veteran Medical Benefits
There are many different benefits available to U.S. Veterans, so it’s important that your client understands which benefits they may or may not be entitled to. Plus, in most cases, your client must apply for the benefits in order to receive them. If they’re not sure whether they are entitled to benefits or need to apply, they can visit www.VA.gov.
TRICARE for Life is for retired military members and their families. This provides healthcare coverage similar to a Medicare Supplement but also includes prescription drug benefits. It can be used anywhere that accepts Medicare patients. It is not recommended to pair this with a Medicare Advantage Plan. If the client would like Dental and Vision coverage, they must purchase it separately.
VA Benefits are for veterans based on their service and qualification of financial status and service-related injury. This covers care and services to treat illnesses and injuries, prevent future health problems, improve ability to function, and increase quality of life. It includes prescription drug coverage but must be obtained through the VA. Veterans must apply for benefits after discharge. VA benefits can be used at VA hospitals and clinics with some community care available for certain situations. In some cases, Veterans should also sign up for a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan to help fill gaps in service availability. Having additional coverage does not disqualify, change, or cancel VA benefits.
CHAMPVA (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs) provides benefits for spouses and dependents of Veterans who have been permanently and totally disabled due to their military service. This coverage is similar to a Medicare Supplement plan but also includes prescription drug benefits. CHAMPVA benefits are accepted anywhere that accepts Medicare patients. The client should not add additional coverage, such as a Medicare Advantage plan, but Dental and Vision can be added without any issue.
Test Your Knowledge: Medicare Quiz for Agents
If you have questions about how Veteran benefits work with Medicare, or if you would like to add Medicare products to your portfolio of offerings, we invite you to schedule a call with La Rae Mills.