VA health care is an integrated system providing care at selected facilities. It is a health care system for those who left active military service in honorable conditions.


Medicare is a U.S federal government-funded national healthcare program that gives coverage to people who are 65 years old or older but do not have health insurance. Younger persons with specified diseases or eligibility qualifications also benefit from Medicare.


Each healthcare system has doctors, facilities, and pharmacies that should serve its members to get treatment at subsidized rates. Sometimes there is an overlap between the types of health care needs that both plans cover.


There is a provision to allow those in VA Health Care to enroll in Medicare without renouncing the former. Many veterans are eligible. Is there a need to enroll in both VA health care and Medicare?


Reasons to enroll in VA Health Care and Medicare


Guarantee of coverage


It is not a guarantee the government will fund VA Health Care. The Department of Veterans Affairs submits a budget, but it guarantees that the federal government will allocate the requested amount. Beneficiaries receive a reduced coverage if government appropriates a lower budget. Some veterans in the lower priority group might lose their coverage.


Wider coverage


VA restricts coverage to care by doctors and hospitals within the veterans’ community care program. VA members widen their coverage by joining both VA health care and Medicare. It saves them from paying medical expenses from their pocket for care at a non-VA facility, even during an emergency. They also get an alternative to healthcare at a subsidized price if they live far from VA facilities.


Safeguards against penalties


VA coverage may end at some point when a veteran passes age 65 or decides to concentrate on Medicare. The veterans who lose their VA coverage before signing up for Medicare Part B wait for a period before getting coverage unless they have other insurance paid by an employer or another source. The waiting period without coverage can lead to penalties that Medicare adds permanently to Part B premiums.


VA Health Care is premium and deductible free. Nonetheless, access to care can be problematic, and there is no guarantee of coverage for every year. Veterans who enroll in VA Health Care and Medicare benefit from guaranteed coverage.