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Get Medicare Coverage in Addition to Your VA Benefits

One of the founders of MyHealthPlans4U served in Vietnam, and that is why today we have a passion for helping veterans find the quality care they deserve. It is possible to have coverage through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Medicare at the same time. In many cases, Medicare offers an extra level of protection against high out-of-pocket costs. Learn more about how it helps to have coverage through both Medicare and the VA and reach out to one of our licensed insurance agents by clicking “Review My Benefits”. We make sure that as a veteran, you get the right coverage for your needs.

The Benefits of Having Both

If you have coverage through the VA and are eligible for Medicare, you are not required to enroll. However, even with VA benefits, there are good reasons why you should enroll in Medicare when you become eligible.

Stay Covered if Your VA Benefits Change

Depending on trends in federal funding or changes in VA priority groups, your VA care may drop or be more costly. Being enrolled in Medicare keeps you covered.

Visit Providers Outside the VA

If you need treatment in a facility that isn’t part of the VA, you could pay full cost, even if it’s an emergency. Medicare will cover services from non-VA providers.

Avoid Paying Late Penalties

If you don’t sign up for Part B during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), you may have to wait on coverage or face a permanent late fee on your Part B premium payments.

Have Flexible Options for Drug Coverage

With VA benefits and a Medicare Part D drug plan, you can use one or the other to fill your prescriptions. You can get meds from non-VA doctors and see which option has the best prices.

How Do Veterans Enroll in Medicare?

Medicare eligibility requirements apply to veterans the same way they do other enrollees. Medicare is available to veterans over the age of 65 or under 65 if they have certain disabilities. However, if you have health benefits such as TRICARE or CHAMPVA, you should consult with those programs to determine when to enroll in Medicare. You’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B if you receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits. Otherwise, you need to sign up on your own. Regardless of how you are enrolled, it’s good to be aware of your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) so you can make decisions about exactly which coverage you want to sign up for during that time.

Veterans with Disabilities and Medicare

Some veterans with disabilities qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In these cases, they may also be eligible for the Medicare and Medicaid health benefits that come with SSI or SSDI. If you are a veteran who is approved for SSDI, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare after receiving disability benefits for two years. The VA and Social Security have different qualifying disabilities that determine if you are eligible for disability benefits from each program. You can receive compensation from both programs if you meet the eligibility requirements for each one.

Expand Your Healthcare Coverage

If you have other forms of health care coverage (like a private insurance plan, Medicare, Medicaid, or TRICARE), you can use VA health care benefits along with these plans.

venn diagram of what the VA offers, what Medicare offers, and what they have in common

Choose the Right Facility

Every time you receive care, you need to decide which benefits to use.Use your Veteran Health ID Card if you visit VA facilities and your Medicare card everywhere else. Consider price, convenience, and the type of care you need when you choose which facility to visit. The following guide can help you decide.

VA Facilities


  • Often more cost-effective
  • Can have a lower death rate
  • Can be better quality care (especially for heart issues)


  • Limited number of locations
  • Often longer wait times
  • Lower patient satisfaction

Non-VA Facilities


  • Often shorter wait times
  • More locations across the country
  • Can be better for pain management


  • Price of care can be more costly if you don’t have coverage
  • Can have less effective preventative screenings & care

Tricare for Life and Medicare

Veterans who are eligible for Tricare and have Original Medicare can be automatically enrolled in Tricare for Life (TFL), a program that provides “wrap-around” Medicare coverage. For this, you generally need to keep Medicare Part B and pay the Part B premium.

Contact a Licensed Insurance Agent

It’s a good idea to contact a licensed Medicare agent if you are a veteran or military retiree. They can help you get the benefits you earned and make sure the types of coverage you have don’t interfere with one another. At MyHealthPlans4U, we appreciate how much veterans have cared for our country, and we want to ensure that they find quality care in return. Please visit our “Review My Benefits” page to get in touch with an agent and go over exactly which benefits would be best for you depending on your specific situation.

Review My Benefits