Mountain View Medical Supply

Friday, March 27, 2015

Can I have both Medicare and VA Benefits?

As part of the Baby Boomer generation, a high number of Vietnam-era Veterans are retiring each year.  Many of these Veterans are already in the Veterans Administration (VA) system, but are now eligible for Medicare as well.  The question is whether a Veteran can have Medicare coverage and also continue with VA benefits. 

According to, you can have both Medicare and VA benefits.  However, Medicare and VA benefits do not work together. 

According to the Veterans Administration website,, “VA Health care is NOT considered a health insurance plan.”  And, “Your insurance coverage or lack of insurance coverage does not determine your eligibility for treatment at a VA health care facility.”

A determining factor on whether a Veteran should use the VA or use their Medicare benefits is whether a Veteran has a “Non-Service Connected” disability or a “Service Connected” disability.  Here is the difference:
Non-Service Connected disability:  Veterans disabled because of conditions that came about after their military service, and it is only for severe disabilities and Veterans who served during federally recognized periods of war. 
Service Connected disability:  Veterans disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.

This is where it gets confusing (or rather, MORE confusing):  The VA also determines each Veterans “disability rating” and pays or doesn’t pay other insurance companies based on service-connected disabilities and non-service connected disabilities. 

Basically, if a disability is recognized by the VA as a service-connected disability, you should see the VA for treatment and coverage of that disability.  If your disability/condition is not related to service, you should use Medicare.  Also, many Veterans use their VA health benefits for items not covered by Medicare such as over-the-counter medications, annual exams and hearing aids.  But, if a Veteran finds better/more accessible care for post service condition, they can utilize their Medicare coverage.

Notes:  1)  We found the term “disability” used as the common term throughout all government documents regarding this subject, but we found it was a very loose definition.  From what we could discern, “disability” can mean physical, mental, disease or illness, and other “conditions”. 
2)  Consult the Veterans Administration and/or Medicare for information regarding your exact situation and how you should proceed with your healthcare.

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