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Understanding Healthcare Benefits For Veterans In Assisted Living HomesMarch 24, 2023 0 Comment Category: Assisted Living
As a veteran, you may be eligible for healthcare coverage through either the Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) or TRICARE, depending on how you are separated from the military. This
guide provides you with complete information on VA benefits, TRICARE benefits, Medicare
eligibility, and coverage.
VA Benefits When You Become Medicare-Eligible
It is not mandatory to enroll in Medicare at age 65 if you’re a veteran with VA benefits. However, if
you choose not to sign up for Medicare, you won’t have coverage for services received in facilities
outside the VA health system. Additionally, you might have to wait until the subsequent General
Enrollment Period to enroll in Medicare if you decide not to do so during your Initial Enrollment
Period and do not have employer-sponsored coverage. Moreover, enrolling after the deadline may
result in financial penalties.
If you are eligible for Medicare at the age of 65 and have VA health benefits, you can enroll in both
plans at the same time. In fact, the VA strongly encourages veterans who do not have employer-
sponsored insurance to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B as soon as they are eligible. If you need
or want to go to a non-VA hospital or doctor, you’re covered under Medicare. Keeping your VA
benefits also means you can get coverage for services and items that Medicare does not cover.
However, VA benefits and Medicare are two separate systems that are not linked in any way.
TRICARE When You Become Medicare-Eligible
Once you are eligible for Medicare as a military retiree, your traditional TRICARE coverage
expires. In order to prevent any gaps in health insurance coverage, you should sign up for
Medicare Parts A and B three months before turning 65 if you don’t currently have group insurance
through your employer. You won’t completely lose out on your TRICARE benefits if you switch to
Medicare. As “wrap-around” insurance for your Medicare plan, TRICARE for Life will be your new
By lowering or eliminating out-of-pocket expenses for many treatments, such as deductibles,
coinsurance, and copayments, TRICARE for Life improves your current benefits. Additionally, it
might pay for services like medical coverage abroad that are not covered by Medicare.
If you qualify for Medicare and VA benefits, compare their coverage. Your priority group may limit
VA health services or increase out-of-pocket costs. Even if you like your VA benefits, life changes.
You may move or choose a non-VA provider. Medicare provides flexibility. However,
Once a military retiree becomes eligible for Medicare, they lose traditional TRICARE coverage.
TRICARE for Life can “wrap around” your Medicare plan. No paperwork is needed for this
automatic change. TRICARE for Life lowers or eliminates deductibles, coinsurance, and
copayments for many treatments.