My husband is a veteran. Does he need Medicare Part B?


Q. My husband is a veteran and recently retired from his job. Being a veteran, all his medical care is provided by the VA. But according to Social Security, he had to enroll into Medicare Part B to avoid penalties and he now pays $140 per month for the coverage. Why, if he’s covered by VA benefits, does the government insist that he pay for a coverage he does not really need?
— Spouse

A. We know health care costs really add up, but it’s about making sure your husband has all the coverage he needs.

Having both VA benefits and Medicare provides more coverage and more flexible options for healthcare and prescription drugs.

But Medicare is not required to receive VA benefits, said Martisha Patterson, a certified financial planner with Peapack Private Wealth Management in Morristown.

She said the two programs do not work together.

“For example, VA benefits will not pay deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance for Medicare related expenses,” Patterson said. “If the VA authorizes services in a non-VA hospital, but does not pay for all the services administered during the hospital stay, Medicare may pay for Medicare-covered services the VA does not pay for.”

In general, she said, the VA benefit only covers healthcare provided within the VA health system.

“Only medication dispensed from VA pharmacies and facilities will be covered by the VA drug coverage program,” she said. “Medicare Part D is available, at additional costs, to cover other medications, however, Medicare Part A or B is required to enroll in Medicare Part D.”

Medicare would only cover care at a Medicare-certified facility that works with Medicare coverage, she said.

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This story was originally published on Oct. 13, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.