By Rick Beavin, California Market President
If you are a military veteran who is approaching Medicare eligibility, you may have questions about how Medicare and Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits differ. It’s important that you understand how the plans complement each other so you can choose the best plan for you and ensure you maximize health benefits available.
Here are a few common health plan questions, answered:
- Can Medicare Advantage and VA benefits work together? Absolutely! Many Medicare Advantage plans complement existing VA benefits and could be an excellent fit if you would like to enhance current benefits and coverage. Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan may provide access to additional services and benefits, like urgent care and dental coverage, which do not interfere with VA benefits for prescription drugs and primary care. Each time you receive care you will need to choose whether to use your VA benefits or your Medicare Advantage plan.
- Are there any specific Medicare Advantage plans for veterans? While Medicare Advantage plans are available to anyone eligible for Medicare, be sure to speak with a licensed insurance agent about plan options that will not interfere with any VA benefits you may already have. For example, the new Humana Honor Medicare Advantage plan, which is open to anyone with Medicare, works to complement VA coverage. The plan provides beneficiaries with extensive coverage, such as robust dental care, at a $0 plan premium. This plan also offers access to a broad network including access to urgent care and non-VA facilities, which can be advantageous for veterans if they need to travel far to receive care at a VA facility or experience long wait times.
- How could a Medicare Advantage plan work with my VA prescription drug coverage? Typically, VA prescription drug benefits will serve as your primary prescription drug coverage when you add a Medicare Advantage plan that does not include prescription drug coverage. These Medicare Advantage plans cover certain injectable drugs and infusions at in-network, non-VA facilities, which may be beneficial based on your health needs. Additionally, some Medicare Advantage plans also include Part D prescription drug coverage, which may help cover medications from non-VA doctors. You can also fill these prescriptions at your local pharmacy instead of through the VA mail-order service.
- Where can I go for more information? A great resource is Medicare.gov or calling 1-800-MEDICARE or TTY 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also visit www.Humana.com/Medicare to learn more about Humana plans or call toll-free 1-800-457-4708 (TTY: 711). Licensed sales agents are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.
The Medicare Annual Election Period – when people can make changes to their Medicare plans – is open now through Dec. 7, 2019. If you’ve been thinking about adding Medicare Advantage benefits to your health coverage, now is the time to take action.
Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on plan renewal.
Rick Beavin is Humana’s market president in California.