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

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

Q. My husband is a veteran and recently retired from his job. All his medical care, as a veteran, is provided by the VA. However, according to Social Security, he had to enroll in Medicare Part B to avoid penalties, which explains why if enrolled, his monthly payment will now be $140. Why, if hes covered by VA benefits, is the government insisting that er pay for a coverage 'he doesnt really need'?

Spouse

A. We understand that health care costs are high, but its important to ensure that your husband has all of the coverage he needs.

Both VA and Medicare provide greater coverage and more options for healthcare and prescription drugs.

But, according to Martisha Patterson, a certified financial planner with Peapack Private Wealth Management in Morristown, Medicare isn't required to receive VA benefits.

She stated that the two programs do not work together.

For example, VA benefits will not cover deductibles, copayments or coinsurance for Medicare-related expenses, Patterson stated. Medicare may pay for Medicare-covered services the VA does not pay. If the Virginia authorizes services in a non-VA hospital but does nothing to cover all the services performed during the hospital stay, the statement further states.

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

The VA drug coverage program will only cover medication delivered from VA pharmacies and facilities, she added. Medicare Part D is available, at additional cost, to cover other medications, however, Medicare B is required to enroll in Medicare part D.

Medicare would only cover care at a Medicare-certified facility that accepts Medicare coverage, she added.

Email your questions to Ask@NJMoneyHelp.com.

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled piece for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMonEyHilfe. NJMoneyHelp is a Facebook page that provides information on NJ Money Help. Sign up for NJMoneyHelp.com's weekly e-newsletter.

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