Information about health benefits that may be helpful to veterans

By Scott Mathis

Individuals eligible for Medicare, including veterans, have an important decision to make before Tuesday, December 7, the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period (AEP) 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 (VA), there’s even more to consider.

Veterans should know that a Medicare Advantage plan may complement your existing VA benefits (not TRICARE or CHAMPVA) and may help reduce gaps in your 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.

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 and $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.

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 education events and one-on-one meetings with licensed sales agents. Start researching plan options now to make your selection confidently by the deadline.

For more information, eligible individuals can go to www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).

Mathis is Veteran Channel Executive at Humana Humana

Information about health benefits  that may be helpful to veterans

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