Does Receiving VA Benefits Make You Eligible for Medicare?


Quick Answer

Receiving Veteran's Affairs benefits does not automatically make an individual eligible for Medicare, but the VA recommends that all those receiving VA health coverage also enroll in Medicare upon reaching eligibility status, reports AARP. Medicare widens health care coverage possibilities and provides a backup in case individuals lose VA health coverage.

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Full Answer

Eligibility for VA health care is dependent on military service, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Eligibility for Medicare is based on the amount of work quarters of coverage an employee earns as well as age, disability or end-stage renal disease, reports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Because Social Security and Medicare taxes are withheld from the pay of military service members, most veterans can receive free Medicare Part A coverage and optional Medicare Part B coverage with the payment of a premium when they become eligible through age or disability, states the Social Security Administration.

Having Medicare as well as VA health coverage enables veterans to receive coverage if they must go to non-VA doctors or hospitals in emergency situations, according to AARP. Additionally, because VA benefits are dependent on congressional appropriations, the possibility exists that the government could cut back or eliminate them. Medicare allows veterans to continue to receive health care coverage even if VA benefits are discontinued.

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