Thank you for your career service! In short, you have earned your Tricare For Life benefits so there is nothing to add.
A quick way to severely impact your Tricare benefits and create financial havoc is to enroll in a plan with Part D coverage. In fact, do not speak to an insurance agent about Tricare. Even me. Contact your Tricare administrator.
I have VA benefits, so I don’t need Medicare or Part D right?
First of all, thank you for your service to this country.
Some veterans are under the impression that VA benefits are insurance. Not so, and the VA states it at their website and in their handbook.
If you have a service connected disability as determined by the VA (not Social Security, that’s different criteria) of under 50%, the VA will not pay for medical services outside of the VA system without prior approval and on a case by case basis. There are some exceptions granted, but you cannot count on it!
For example, let’s say you have a heart attack and call an ambulance. If you are able, you request the ambulance crew to transport you to the VA hospital (and that may or not be close). The ambulance crew has a legal and ethical obligation to transport you to the nearest emergency care center and that is not the VA. Assuming you are admitted to a non-VA hospital wishing further treatment at the VA, it is possible you may be transferred to the VA upon request. However you will be responsible for the first ambulance transport and non-VA hospital charges.
Another risk. If you delay Medicare Part B when eligible because you think the VA is taking care of your medical needs outside of the VA system, you will encounter a penalty added to your monthly Part B premium. Wait long enough, Part B will become unaffordable. Medicare’s calculator will help you determine what applies to you.
As for needing Part D coverage, the VA may be sufficient for your needs and safely opt out. Keep in mind that the VA only dispenses generic medications. Brands may be dispensed only on a case by case basis.
Contact Me for knowledgeable advice. An Advantage plan might offer lesser expensive medication co-pays than the VA!