Guide Contents

These are the sections of this guide that appear in order on this page.

  • Medicare & VA – Important Facts To Know
  • The Parts Of Medicare
  • Medicare Advantage
  • Standard Medicare Vs. Medicare Advantage
  • Medicare Supplements
  • Request Info On Available Plans & Benefits
  • Featured Heroes Testimonials
  • General Frequently Asked Questions
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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Medicare & Veterans Administration Benefits

As a Veteran who is newly eligible for Medicare, there’s things to learn and choices to make. Let’s face it, even though you’ll never lose your fighting spirit, you’re not the strapping young lad or lass that you were when you joined the military. The choices you make with Medicare can affect your health, happiness, finances, and peace of mind. This guide can help you simplify things so you can make the best decisions for you. Let’s start with some basic facts you need to know.

Facts To Know

  • You are eligible to start Medicare the month that you turn 65.
  • Medicare has a monthly premium of $170.10 in 2022.
  • If you only have VA benefits (not Tricare), you have the option of opting out of Medicare so you don’t have to pay the premium.
  • The Veterans Administration doesn’t recommend opting out of Medicare.
  • If you do not take Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible, you will have to pay a penalty if you choose to enroll later. At this point, the penalty may be too high and prohibit you from getting Medicare.
  • Having Medicare will give you more, quality healthcare options. This can be especially useful for benefits not provided by the VA as well as treatment, second opinions, and emergency situations.
  • As a Veteran you will have good options for your Medicare plan. There are even plans that can lower your monthly Medicare cost and give you more benefits (See down the page).

Note: If you also have Tricare, for Retired Military, you should also review that section after this one. Click Here to navigate to the Tricare section or use the menu at the top.

Need To Know

“The VA does not recommend that veterans cancel or decline coverage in Medicare (or other health care or insurance programs) solely because they are enrolled in VA healthcare.” Source: VA.GOV

The Parts Of Medicare

Medicare has 5 parts, with the main ones being Parts A & B. Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospitalization, skilled nursing facility, and home health care. Medicare Part B covers doctors care and outpatient treatment. At a minimum you’ll want parts A & B and you can select from the 3 other parts based on your wants & needs.

The Other 3 Parts

  • Part C – More commonly known as Medicare Advantage, these are private insurance plans. You have the choice of being covered directly through Medicare or a Private Insurer.
  • Part D – Medicare prescription pharmacy benefits provided by private insurers.
  • Medicare Supplements – These are insurance plans that supplement Medicare A & B. They are offered by private insurers and help cover medical costs.

In many cases the VA provides prescriptions at an affordable cost, however, in some cases it’s beneficial for you to have drug coverage under Medicare as well.

Medicare Advantage

How Veterans Get The Most Medicare Coverage & Lowest Monthly Cost

As a Medicare recipient, you have the choice of getting your benefits directly through the government (Original Medicare) or through a private insurer (Medicare Advantage). Medicare Advantage are health plans provided by private insurers. Both Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage include Part A coverage for hospitalization and Part B for doctors & outpatient care. Original Medicare is “one size fits all” and the same for everyone in the country. Medicare Advantage, however, gives you various choices that may be a better fit for your unique situation. The “Advantage” in Medicare Advantage is that they include more benefits than Original Medicare, at the same or lower monthly cost. The additional benefits you can get with Medicare Advantage include;

  • Dental, Vision, and Hearing Aid coverage.
  • Silver Sneakers – Gives you free access to exercise facilities and online exercise videos.
  • Part B Giveback – This is a benefit included with some plans that gives you a monthly dollar amount to help you pay your Medicare cost.
  • Prescription – There are Medicare Advantage options that include pharmacy coverage and some that do not. You have choices.

In most areas there are specific plans designed with Veterans & Military in mind. Because there are so many plans available, the best options for Veterans, Military, & their Families are often lost in the crowd. Contact us and we’ll make it easier for you by helping you cut through all the clutter.

Medicare Advantage Vs. Original Medicare Comparison

To get a better idea of how Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare compare, here are sample features & benefits. As we’ve said, Medicare Advantage is available with and without prescription coverage.

FeatureOriginal MedicareMedicare Advantage
Total Monthly Cost$170.10 In 2022$90 – $170.10 in 2022 (Varies by plan)
Hospitalization & Doctor CoverageYesYes
Max Out Of Pocket ProtectionNoYes
Rx Included?NoChoices with and without Rx
Dental & VisionNoYes
Hearing Aid BenefitsNoOften Included
Gym & Health ClubNoYes

This table provides a general overview & comparison of Original Medicare & Medicare Advantage. Benefits & costs vary with different plans. Refer to plan specific documents such as the Summary of Benefits. Contact us for details.

Need To Know

How can I get more benefits and also pay less with Medicare Advantage? The simple answer is that Original Medicare is one size fits all for everyone in the country. Medicare Advantage has choices designed with Veterans in mind, so the benefits and cost are tailored to you.

For questions & details on available programs

Medicare Supplements

How Veterans Get The Most Medical Coverage & Lowest Medical Bills Outside The VA

If you prefer to use see private doctors for your healthcare, rather than the VA, Medicare Supplement insurance is an option to consider. It is an alternative to Medicare Advantage because you can only have one or the other. Medicare Supplements are insurance policies that help cover out of pocket medical costs with Original Medicare (Medicare A & B directly through the government). These costs are deductibles and co-insurance that you normally have to pay when you have medical care. The primary benefit of Medicare Supplements is setting yourself up to have nearly full coverage for medical costs.

Things To Know About Medicare Supplements

  • Medicare Supplement’s are provided by private insurance companies.
  • They are separate policies and are secondary to Medicare A & B. Therefore, they have a monthly cost that you pay in addition to Medicare.
  • Medicare supplements cover you at any doctor that accepts Medicare A & B, there are no networks.
  • Medicare Supplement policies are represented by a letter, which means the amount of coverage you get.
  • The top Medicare Supplement plans can help you limit your annual out of pocket medical bills to around $200 per year.

Contact Us For More Info

Get Details On Available Programs & Benefits

Email us with your question and we’ll respond promptly. Click the “email us” button above to access the contact form.

Call Us

Call 855-625-7633 to request more information. We are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 A.M. to 6 P.M.

Featured Heroes Testimonials & Profiles

About our Veteran & Military clients and what they have to say

On a mobile phone, swipe with your finger to the left to move to the next profile.

Michael Pauley served in the US Army from 1978 through 1998. He then served in the South Carolina National Guard from 1998 until 2001. After that, he served 20 more years in the US Army Reserve and US Navy. Michael’s most profound memory of his service is flying Dustoff / MEDEVAC. He currently lives in South Carolina and is a retired Lawyer, Soldier, Sailor, and Science Fiction Writer.

In his own words, Michael chose a Medicare Advantage plan with us because; “Having a Medicare Plan that is bundled through same provider and My Tricare, along with the outstanding service, make this a great fit for me.”

Patricia Hill served in the US Army for 21 years and 6 months. Her fondest memory of her service was completing her Rites of Passage. She says was a grueling week but helped her grow and build comradery. She currently lives in Virginia and enjoys gardening, reading, and home decorating.

In her own words; “It was a pleasure working with Lonestar Medicare and Medicare For Heroes. Ben provided quite a bit of information about Medicare/Medicare Advantage Programs. Especially important to me were plans geared towards Military Retirees and Veterans. Ben was also very responsive in answering my questions. Because of all of the information I received, I am confident that I chose the best Medicare Advantage plan to suit my healthcare needs.”

After 25 years of service in the US Air Force, Robert Wood retired as a Lt. Colonel in 2006. After that he worked for a defense contractor and retired from there in 2017. Robert currently lives in Texas where he enjoys supporting his wife who is a local teacher. He also has plenty of time to keep up the house and yard, which he didn’t before. His fondest memory of his service was last assignment with the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, UK. “I enjoyed the people I worked with and worked for. We had great comradery and sense of teamwork to get the air-refueling mission accomplished.”

In his own words; “Starting Medicare, there seemed to be an overwhelming number of options available. I found an advertisement for Lone Star Medicare / Medicare For Heroes and gave them a call. I talked to Ben Rodriguez and he was very knowledgeable and interested in finding the best Medicare coverage for my personal needs. After he asked me several questions about my personal situation, he recommended the Humana Honor (PPO) Medicare Advantage Plan as the best fit for me. I chose this plan because it covers all of my healthcare needs, most of which were in Network for my current doctors. The Humana Honor plan works with Tricare for Life, which pays any additional costs and co-pays that the Humana Honor plan does not cover. I’m very happy with the Humana Honor (PPO) Medicare Advantage Plan and the outstanding service and assistance I received from Ben Rodriguez and Lone Star Medicare.”

Michael & Mona Harness both served in the US Air Force. Michael served for 21 years and Mona 14. They met in Yakota Air Force Base in Japan. Michael’s favorite memory is the wonderful airmen he had the pleasure of serving with. They currently live in Texas. Michael enjoys woodworking and fishing. Mona is enjoying quilting and yard work.

In their own words; Having used military medical all my adult life, I had zero knowledge of civilian medical care and the Medicare program. Medicare For Heroes was able to explain everything to me. I chose the Humana plan they recommended for me and have had nothing but good experiences. From dr visits to the otc program, I highly recommend Humana health care.”

Harry served in the US Coast Guard for 24 years and 8 months. He was stationed at the Great Lakes, Florida, Louisiana, and finally in Port Arthur, Texas, which is where he met his wife Mada. Regarding his service he says; “One of my proudest accomplishments in the military was performing drug interdiction within the passes of Florida, Cuba and Mexico.”

Harry & Mada currently operate a marine surveying business, which Harry says is supported by the leadership skills he gained in the US Coast Guard. They have 6 children, 9 grandchildren, and enjoy traveling in their RV & boat.

In their own words they chose a Medicare Advantage plan through us because; “It has been a pleasure working with Ben Rodriguez with Lone Star and Medicare For Heroes. Entering into the Medicare system can be overwhelming and he was there to help guide us through the multitude of questions we needed answers to. The Humana Honor Health Plan has helped us save over $100 on our premiums. In fact, our co-pays are less than they were with our military insurance.

It is a PPO program, but we found all our primary care physicians and specialists are In-Network Providers. Being retired military, we have Tri-Care as our secondary plan. We haven’t had to change a thing. We are also taking advantage of the OTC pharmacy program for routinely purchased OTC drugs, such as 81 mg aspirin, vitamins and diabetic needs. Plus we have the added advantage of the hearing, dental and vision benefits that Medicare doesn’t include. This plan is adequately able to help even if you’re not real computer savvy. It is just as easy to handle any insurance business over the phone and the personnel are pleasant and willing to make sure all our needs are met.”

Neil Houser served in the US Air Force for 20 years. His best memory is Working Heritage Park at England AFB in Alexandria, LA. He was was the Project Manager, in charge of Assembling all the Real Flying Tiger Aircraft and making them ready to Mount on Pedestals. Neil currently lives with his wife Irene in Texas where he works as an IT / Data Analyst. He enjoys golfing and music, which makes sense that he lives near Austin.

Neil and his wife have Tricare For Life and they chose a Medicare Advantage plan with us. In their own words, this is because; “I’ve been working with Ben Rodriguez and Medicare For Heroes for over a year now. We’ve been bombarded with Mail, Email, Social Media about Medicare and supplements. Ben has gone the extra mile to provide Education, and Support. He extremely knowledgeable and friendly. He is certainly 5 stars!”

Request A Benefits Assessment

This is an important step to determining your options and benefits you can take advantage of. Please take a minute to fill out the form below and click submit. Once we receive your submission, we will reach out to you with more details.

Top Medicare Insurers For Veterans

 

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General Frequently Asked Questions

When will I start Medicare? If you are turning 65, you are eligible to start Medicare the first day of the month that you turn 65. If you are over 65 and have or are leaving employer insurance; you are eligible to start Medicare anytime. If you are disabled you will typically start Medicare 24 months after being awarded disability. If you have End Stage Renal Disease or ALS, you are usually awarded Medicare immediately.

What Costs Are Associated With Medicare? Medicare has 2 types of costs; Monthly premiums and medical cost sharing. A premium is the cost you pay to have the coverage, typically monthly or quarterly. Cost sharing is what you pay when you have medical care. These are items such as deductibles and copay’s. The standard monthly premium most people pay in 2021 is $148.50. There are ways to lower your monthly premium such as Part B giveback and state programs.

When should I apply for Medicare? First, if you are already receiving Social Security payments when you become eligible for Medicare, you don’t need to apply. You will be automatically enrolled in Medicare. If you are turning 65 and need to apply, you can do so 3 months before the first day of the month that you turn 65. If you are over age 65 and have insurance through your employer; you can apply anytime and your coverage can begin as soon as the first day of the next month.

How do I enroll in Medicare? 1. Apply Online through the Social Security website. 2. Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 and schedule an appointment to enroll by phone. Instead of calling the main Social Security 800 number, you can call your local office to schedule a phone enrollment. To find your local office click here.

What is the benefit of working with Lone Star Medicare? Medicare can be confusing and the government doesn’t directly provide you with all benefits. So, you have choices to make and things to do. As a top independent agency, we are a one stop guide and resource to help make your life easier. We can help you get the coverage you need and save money. There are also no fees or costs for you, it’s a win win.

Medicare Advantage Frequently Asked Questions

Will Medicare Advantage and it’s extra benefits cost me more monthly? In most cases no. The nice thing about Medicare Advantage is that you can get extra benefits included, for no extra monthly cost. In fact, in some cases you can get the extra benefits and lower your overall monthly cost (see Part B giveback below.)

What is Part B Giveback? Part B Giveback is a benefit of certain Medicare Advantage plans, and in particular, designed for those with Military or Veterans health benefits. In these cases the plan gives you money back, which lowers your overall monthly cost of Medicare. This could save you hundreds or more dollars per year. Part B giveback doesn’t lower the quality of your coverage.

Will having Medicare Advantage lower the quality of my coverage or care? No. Medicare Advantage is regulated by the federal government. Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for medically needed care and treatment. However, the quality of service and doctor / hospital networks can vary with different plans and insurers.

If I sign up for Medicare Advantage, can I keep my doctors or will I need to change them? In most cases, you will be able to keep your doctors. Medicare Advantage plans have networks, meaning a list of doctors and hospitals that are accept the plan. Some Medicare Advantage plans allow you to go out of network. When evaluating a Medicare Advantage plan, you should check if your doctors and medical providers accept the plan. If you’re working with us, this is something that we will do for you every time.

When can I enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan to get additional benefits? There are two primary periods when you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. 1. When you first start Medicare A & B. 2. During the Annual Open Enrollment period which begins October 15th and lasts through December 7th.

If I decide to take Medicare Advantage instead of Original / Standard Medicare, can I ever change back? Yes. Each year from January 1st through March 31st you can dis-enroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare.

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