Do Military Retirees Have To Pay For Medicare Part B

Do Military Retirees Have To Pay For Medicare Part B – Q: I served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970 and am just starting to get Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. I am paying $104 for Medicare Part B. Can I stop using Part B and pay for it because I have VA? I’m 68. — Lanny Smith, Cody, Wyo.

A: First and foremost, thank you for your service. “I appreciate your sacrifice and the sacrifice all our active service men and women make, to keep me and my family safe here in the United States,” says Diane Daniels, author of ‘

Do Military Retirees Have To Pay For Medicare Part B

Regarding your health insurance, we do not know if you are enrolled in Tricare for Life or VA Health Care.

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“You’re entitled to Tricare for Life if you’re a retired service or reserve member, or if you’re a Medal of Honor recipient,” says Daniels. “Tricare for Life is Medicare ‘jacket’ coverage for Tricare-eligible beneficiaries who have Medicare Part A and B.”

You must continue to pay Medicare Part B premiums to stay enrolled in Tricare, Daniels says. “Tricare pays after Medicare in the United States and US territories,” she says. “Tricare also pays Medicare deductibles and coinsurance.”

If, however, you are enrolled in VA Health Care, consider this: You may have both Medicare and Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, according to However, Medicare and VA benefits do not work together. Medicare does not pay for any care you receive at a VA facility. According to MedicareInteractive:

“Many veterans use their VA health benefits to get coverage for health care services and items not covered by Medicare, such as over-the-counter drugs, annual physical exams and hearing aids. However, you may want to consider enrolling in Medicare Part B (medical insurance), even if you have VA coverage. Part B can cover services you get from Medicare-certified providers and provide you with medical coverage outside the VA health system. In addition, if you don’t enroll in Part B when you’re first eligible to do so, you’ll likely have a Part B premium penalty for each 12-month period you were without Part B coverage B of Medicare. In addition, you may also experience gaps in coverage.”

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Tricare For Life

Of note, if you are enrolled in VA Health Care, you may be able to receive care from non-VA facilities, instead of waiting for a VA appointment or traveling to a VA facility, Daniels says.

How? You are eligible for what is called the Veterans Choice Program, which is part of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA), if any of these -situations applies to you:

It’s also a good idea to call 866-606-8198 to make sure you qualify for the Veterans Choice Program and to schedule an appointment to enroll, Daniels says.

“Since you have both Medicare and VA benefits, you can get treatment under either program,” she says. “You need to ‘choose’ which benefits you use if you see a doctor or use a healthcare facility, a lab for blood work for example. Medicare cannot pay for the same service that was covered under VA benefits, and vice versa. It’s important to note that Medicare is never the secondary payer behind the VA.”

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Daniels also notes that in order for the VA to pay for the services, you must go to a VA facility or have the VA authorize the services at a non-VA facility. “Medicare Part B can also pay for Medicare-covered services that the VA has not authorized,” she says.

All that said, the answer to your question isn’t a simple yes or no, says Daniels. By outlining some of your options, hopefully, you have enough information and resources to help you make your decision. “The decision to stay in Medicare Part B and continue to pay a Part B premium, has to be yours and yours alone,” says Daniels.

Q: I am 66 years old and have been receiving Social Security since I turned 62. My current monthly benefit is $1,742, after the Medicare Part B deductible. My wife will turn 66 in January 2016. Her estimated monthly benefit will be $908, before the Medicare Part B deductible. Is she eligible for any additional spousal benefits? — Jim Wojtyla, Bloomingdale, Ill.

A: If you are eligible for more than one Social Security benefit, you cannot, in fact, receive more than the greater of the two benefits, says Donna Clements, manager of Social Security Services and Medicare at Mercer in Louisville, Ky.

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So at your wife’s full retirement age of 66, she would be entitled to 50% of your Primary Insurance Amount or PIA, which is your Social Security benefit before the Medicare deduction , says Clements. If this is more than her $908, then she will get the additional spousal benefit to bring it up to this amount.

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So, for example, if your benefit is $1,900, your wife would be entitled to 50% of that amount, or $950. Her Social Security benefit would be $950 made up of her benefit of $908 plus a spousal benefit of $42, Clements says.

Two more notes. One. About 95% of Medicare beneficiaries have $104.90 deducted from their Social Security benefit to pay for Medicare Part B. If that’s the case for you, your gross Social Security benefit would be $1, 846.90.

However, couples filing jointly with a modified adjusted gross income above $170,000 will have anywhere from $146.90 to $335.50 deducted from their Social Security benefit depending on their modified adjusted gross income to pay for the Part B. Therefore, it is quite possible that your gross Social Security benefit could be $1,888.90 or more.

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Robert Powell is editor of Retirement Weekly, a regular contributor to USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch. Got questions about money? Email Our fact-checking process begins by vetting all sources to ensure they are authoritative and relevant. We then verify the facts with original reports published by those sources, or confirm the facts with qualified experts. For full transparency, we clearly identify our sources in a list at the bottom of each page.

APA Simmons, C. (2023, January 17). Medicare for Veterans and VA Benefits: A Complete Guide. . Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https:///guides/medicare-for-veterans/

Chicago Simmons, Christian. “Medicare for Veterans and VA Benefits: A Complete Guide.” . Last modified January 17, 2023. https:///guides/medicare-for-veterans/.

The mission of is to provide seniors with resources to help them make important financial decisions that affect their retirement. Our goal is to arm our readers with knowledge that leads to a healthy and financially sound retirement.

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To support the health care needs of approximately 19 million US veterans, government health insurance programs such as VA benefits and Medicare.

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While Medicare for veterans and VA health care benefits do not coordinate their services, it is still a good idea to apply for both. About half of veterans who have VA benefits also have Medicare coverage, expanding their choices for where and how they receive care.

This guide covers everything you need to know about Medicare for Veterans, VA benefits, Tricare for Life coverage and how these programs work together.

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The US Department of Veterans Affairs recommends that you enroll in Medicare when you turn 65, even if you have VA coverage. This gives you additional coverage options when you seek care outside of VA facilities.

Medicare provides backup options in case there is insufficient VA funding in the future to cover care for all veterans. If funding for VA health care is reduced, those in lower priority groups may be at risk of losing their VA health care benefits.

You must also enroll in Medicare Part B when you become eligible. Delaying registration may result in a permanent late registration penalty, which increases the longer you delay signing up.

VA and Medicare benefits are separate plans that do not coordinate coverage. Each time you receive treatment, you must decide which program benefits to use. You use your Veteran’s Health Identification Card when accessing care at VA facilities and your Medicare card at other facilities.

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While Medicare generally does not cover routine dental, vision or hearing care, some veterans may qualify for dental and vision coverage through VA benefits. On the other hand, Medicare covers hospice and skilled nursing facility care while VA health care does not.

VA benefits cover services at VA-authorized or non-VA facilities with prior authorization, while Medicare helps cover services at non-VA facilities.

Consider factors such as budget, convenience and the type of care you need when deciding whether to go to a VA or non-VA facility. The table below compares the pros and cons of both.

Check for VA-approved facilities near you to see if there is one you can conveniently access. If not, it might be worth signing up for Medicare to make sure you’re not too far from a clinic in case

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