If you’re a veteran who already has Veterans Affairs (VA) or TRICARE health coverage, you may not have considered Medicare Advantage coverage. But combining Medicare Advantage with your existing health coverage can offer many benefits. With the help of an independent health insurance agent, you can get the right coverage for your health care and budget.
Our experienced local agents help North Carolina residents every day and specialize in assisting veterans with their health insurance needs.
Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn
To access any Medicare Advantage plan, you need to enroll in Original Medicare. A Medicare Advantage plan includes the same basic coverage as Original Medicare, but with additional benefits. Combining Medicare Advantage and VA can be beneficial for several reasons:
Medicare Advantage plans can cover all your needs in one plan and offer coverage if you travel overseas
Medicare Advantage plans have an out-of-pocket cap on your care, unlike Original Medicare
When using VA facilities, you can often experience long wait times for care
Your eligibility for VA health coverage could change as it’s not guaranteed
Depending on the plan you choose and where you live, Medicare Advantage plans can offer a range of additional benefits from what you can expect with Original Medicare, including:
Dental, vision, and hearing services
Coverage for over-the-counter drugs
Memberships to fitness clubs
Access to wellness and nutrition programs
Transport to and from doctor’s appointments
Adult day-care services
There are specific periods when you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. These include your Initial Coverage Election Period (known as your ICEP), the Annual Election Period (your AEP), and Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. There’s also a Special Election Period.
This period covers seven months, and it’s your first opportunity to choose a Medicare health plan. Your ICEP begins three months before the month you turn 65 and finishes three months after your birthday month. If you’re under 65 and are receiving Social Security disability payments, your eligibility is slightly different. You will be eligible for Medicare in the 25th month after receiving your first Social Security benefit payment.
This election period begins on October 15 and lasts until December 7 each year. Your chosen coverage will then start in January following the AEP. During your AEP, you can change your current coverage, switch providers, or reduce your current coverage.
The period runs from January 1 to March 31. If you already have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch to another plan, change your health plan, or cancel your coverage and return to your Original Medicare plan.
A unique life event typically triggers a Special Enrollment Period. This two-month period means you can adjust your existing coverage because of changes in your circumstances. These may include moving to a different state or losing coverage through an employer. During your SEP, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or choose to return to your Original Medicare without facing any fees or penalties.
Several unique life events trigger your SEP, so contact one of our North Carolina Medicare agents today to find out more.
If you’ve got questions relating to Medicare Advantage plans veterans or want to discuss Medicare Advantage and veterans benefits, get in touch with Health Plans of NC today. Our dedicated and local Medicare agents NC offer independent advice to North Carolina residents and can ensure you’ve got the right coverage for your health needs.