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If you are service-connected disabled, you qualify for VA benefits and if you live near a VA medical center you may elect not to enroll in Medicare B, a supplement plan and part D plan providing hundreds of bucks a month in savings. Those who retired and are not disabled have Tricare for Life and so will not have to buy a supplement or part D plan.

TFL is a major benefit for us in retirement

BruceM
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No. of Recommendations: 2
If you are service-connected disabled, you qualify for VA benefits and if you live near a VA medical center you may elect not to enroll in Medicare B, a supplement plan and part D plan providing hundreds of bucks a month in savings. Those who retired and are not disabled have Tricare for Life and so will not have to buy a supplement or part D plan.

TFL is a major benefit for us in retirement

BruceM
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No. of Recommendations: 2
If you are over 65 and have a service-connected disability, you are required to take Medicare Part B but are not required to take Medicare Part D as the VA Healthcare System's prescription drug coverage satisfies ACA and Medicare prescription drug requirements. If your disability rating is above 50%, you definitely don't need to participate in any Medicare supplemental plans.

If you have service-connected disabilities, I recommend that you check the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and VA e-Benefits web site to verify that your disabilities are recorded correctly. I discovered that my primary disabilities were not recorded. Its a long process to get your records corrected. I didn't check my records until after I retired and was in my seventies. My disability rating was changed from 50% to 90% when my disability evaluation was completed this year.

An unexpected side benefit of correcting my VA disability records was a doubling of my monthly VA Disability Compensation. I should have done this years ago when I was struggling to put my kids through college.
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you are over 65 and have a service-connected disability, you are required to take Medicare Part B...

I don't think that's correct.

VA and Medicare are totally separate...one has no connection to the other.

Medicare Part B If You Have VA Benefits

Although it’s not absolutely necessary, it is strongly recommended that any Medicare eligible Veterans and Disabled Veterans enroll in Medicare Part B (Medical Coverage, Dr’s, other outpatient services, etc).


https://champva.us/veteran-medicare-supplement/

Here's another longer explanation from AARP

https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-qa-tool/does-medicare-w...

My brother has a 20% SCD and elected not to enroll in Medicare B at 65...against my advice.

But hey, the VA is pure Socialized Medicine and so can change by fiat although in my internet search I could find nothing on a Part B requirement for VA eligibility. But if you can find otherwise please provide a link.

BruceM
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BruceCM:

https://www.va.gov/health-care/about-va-health-benefits/va-h...

I think my confusion about needing Medicare Part B stems from the MISSION Act that became law in 2018 when I finally got around to signing up for VA Health Care. The MISSION Act requires the VA to bill third-party insurers for services not related to your service-connected disabilities. I was insured at the time under a Medicare Advantage plan by a third-party insurer that VA could bill.

If you have a life-threatening health problem, the VA requires you to call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room. In this situation, it is probably a good idea to have a Medicare card showing that you are covered under Part A and Part B. A heart attack requiring stents can be pretty damn expensive when you get admitted to the hospital.

The VA does urge veterans to have Medicare Part B, in particular, if their service-connected disability places them in a group other than Priority Group 1 (50% or greater SCD) as your health care can be discontinued should Congress not provide enough funding.
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... as your health care can be discontinued should Congress not provide enough funding.

You got that right!

That was the primary argument I kept shouting at my brother that coverage under the VA is based on the VA's ability to extend coverage to him, and for pragmatic reason of having a VA facility near by. Right now, the small VA clinic is about a 30 minute drive and the VA medical center is a two hour drive. If that clinic closes, the next closest clinic is about 80 miles. With his wife retiring next year (starting her SS and Medicare coverage), their income will be low enough that he'd likely qualify for Medicare premium assistance subsidy.

I'd guess most who are trying to save a few bucks a month (like my brother) do qualify for Medicare A, which means they will be covered if they are admitted to a civilian hospital, at least after the $1,408 (2020) deductible (not sure if VA would help with that...I don't think so).

BruceM
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