Plan Advisors Blog

Veterans and Medicare Plan Enrollment

Posted by Lance Hoeltke on Thu, May 22, 2014 @ 12:31 PM

Answers about enrolling Veterans with Medicare outside of the Annual Election PeriodWe often get questions relating to the enrollment of Medicare eligible veterans outside of the Annual Election Period.  In short, veterans are treated just as any other Medicare eligible person.  There are a few things to note, however, when working with a veteran who is Medicare eligible.  Here's a short list of things to consider when helping veterans make an informed decision about Medicare Advantage enrollment:

  1. Many veterans have never enrolled in Medicare Part B.  Since enrolling in Medicare Part B is not required to utilize VA benefits, you'll find that many veterans have chosen not to pay the Part B premium.  Be sure to always check with the veteran about their Part B status before getting too far into the sales process.
  2. Just like any other person on Medicare, veterans may be entitled to a Special Election Period.  Does the veteran receive a Low Income Subsidy?  Does the veteran qualify for a Chronic Special Needs Plan for health reasons?  Has the veteran recently moved?  If the answer is yes to any of these questions, the veteran may be entitled to a Special Election Period.
  3. Veterans can utilize both VA benefits and Medicare Advantage benefits concurrently.  As always, there are rules to follow, but veterans can indeed continue to utilize VA resources after enrolling in any MA plan.
So, what are some reasons a veteran may choose to enroll in Medicare Part B and enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan?
  • More and better access to providers and medications.  Savy veterans are able to fill prescriptions at the facility that is best for them.  If their MAPD plan offers $0 copay generics, they can take advantage of these savings.  Also, the veteran's VA doctor may be 20 miles away while they could see a doctor within their MA plan's network that is potentially much closer.
  • Great for emergency or urgent care situations.  MA plans do offer emergency coverage, both nationwide and internationally.  They also offer urgent care coverage that may be more convenient and/or cost effective for the veteran to utilize.
  • Value Added Benefits.  Medicare Advantage plans often contain some pretty valuable benefits that are not covered, in many cases, by the VA.  Silver Sneakers, dental coverage and discounts, no cost over-the-counter items, and Well Dine are all valuable benefits that veterans may be able to take advantage of through their MA plan.
In a nutshell, there is no magic way to enroll a veteran outside of the normal Medicare guidelines which apply to all Medicare beneficiaries.  But there are some things to consider when helping veterans make informed healthcare decisions.

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