MHI – Q: Should I sign up for Part D if I get my drugs through the VA?

Posted by Jan
A: Although many veterans are satisfied with their drug coverage through the VA, some may also want to consider signing up for a Medicare Part D plan.

Veterans who qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help program (also called LIS, or the low-income subsidy program) will likely pay less for some of their medications through a Part D plan than they would through the VA. They should check with the Social Security Administration (1-800-772-1213) or the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (www.shiptacenter.org) to see if they qualify for this financial assistance.

It’s also possible they may need a brand-name medication that is not on the VA drug formulary. It might be worth their while to join a Part D plan just to get that medication.

VA coverage is considered “creditable”. Those who qualify for VA drug coverage do not have to enroll in a Part D plan during their Initial Enrollment Period. They can join during any authorized enrollment period and not be charged a late enrollment penalty.

Keep in mind VA and Part D do not coordinate. They do not work together. Either the VA pays at a VA facility/pharmacy or the Part D plan pays at one of their network pharmacies.

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