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Helping veterans navigate Medicare options

Humana has a team dedicated to supporting veterans and addressing their health care needs.

Navigating Medicare can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time eligible. There’s an alphabet soup of Medicare parts and a variety of plan options that allow you to select the coverage that best meets your personal needs, but, at first glance, it can feel overwhelming. After all, how are we supposed to know what kind of health care support we might need in the future?

Now that we are in the midst of Medicare’s annual enrollment window, it is important to learn about available options before the Dec. 7 deadline. 

When we were in the military, if we needed to know something, we asked, right? So, we asked Humana’s veteran engagement team for some insights about Medicare.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is federal health care coverage for eligible individuals 65 and over or under 65 with certain disabilities or conditions.

Original Medicare is the government-managed, fee-for-service program and only includes Part A (hospitals) and Part B (doctors and outpatient services). Original Medicare provides coverage through any provider that accepts Medicare; however, it typically only covers about 80% of the cost, and there are no limits for your portion. Also, Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans, offered through private insurance companies like Humana, include Parts A and B as well as additional benefits that could help reduce gaps in coverage. For example, all of Humana’s Medicare Advantage plans include dental, hearing and vision coverage and many also include prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans include maximum out-of-pocket costs, but they do use provider networks, so it’s important to verify that their health care providers participate with the plan.

Why Do Veterans Need Medicare?

For veterans to make informed decisions about Medicare coverage, they must first understand their VA health care coverage, which is different for every veteran. For example, most VA beneficiaries do not get dental coverage through the VA. Many are limited by their service-connected conditions. Some don’t qualify for VA coverage at all.

“The VA encourages eligible veterans to enroll in Medicare even if they have VA health care benefits,” Darin Davis, a U.S. Army veteran and current Humana Regional Veteran Executive, tells We Are The Mighty. “If you need care outside the VA, Medicare can cover it. And, with Medicare, you have coverage if the government changes funding for VA health care down the line.”

Another important consideration is the financial penalty that comes with delaying enrollment in Medicare Part B. Also, if you elect to cancel your Medicare Part B coverage, you would not be able to choose a Medicare Advantage plan until January of the following year (when you can enroll in Part B), even if your VA health care benefits change.

If you choose a plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you will have the ability use your local pharmacy and also get medication prescribed by non-VA doctors. Part D coverage is only available through private insurers and can be a stand-alone plan for those who choose Original Medicare or part of a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Advantage Plans Designed with Veterans in Mind

Humana made a commitment more than a decade ago to hire a team of veterans to better understand and connect with veterans across the country.

The company set out to design Medicare Advantage plans that would complement the benefits veterans may receive through VA health care – Humana launched its Honor plans in 2020. Then in 2022, Humana and USAA collaborated to design and launch the Humana USAA Honor with Rx plan, which was the first Honor plan to include prescription drugs.

Beginning in 2024, all Honor plans are co-branded as Humana USAA Honor plans, combining the health care experience of Humana with the veteran expertise of USAA. Every single Humana USAA Honor plan includes a $0 monthly plan premium, a Part B Medicare premium reduction (which means less money is taken out of your Social Security check), and dental, vision and hearing coverage. The plans are available to anyone eligible for Medicare, including veterans’ spouses, but they are designed in a way that may work alongside the benefits a veteran receives through VA health care.

Humana has made a special effort to not only address veterans’ unique health care needs through its products, but also to ensure their Customer Care representatives are prepared to support the veteran population. The company has a dedicated customer care line for veterans, with agents who are specially trained through a collaboration with USAA. Many of the Humana Customer Care specialists are veterans themselves and can make it easier for them to connect with veteran members. Humana even goes as far as to address veteran members by the last rank they held in the U.S. military.

To learn more, individuals can visit Humana.com/Medicare/Veterans or call toll-free 1-833-585-8387 (VETS) (TTY: 711) 8 a.m.–8 p.m., seven days a week, to speak to a specialist who is trained to support the unique needs of veterans.

Disclaimers: Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal. Other providers are available in the Humana network. The Part B Giveback Benefit pays part or all of your Part B premium and the amount may change based on the amount you pay for Part B. The Humana USAA Honor plans are available to anyone eligible for Medicare and veterans should consider all of their health plan options. Humana Insurance Company pays royalty fees to USAA for the use of its intellectual property. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. Use of the term “USAA member” or “USAA membership” refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change. USAA and the USAA Logo are registered trademarks of the United Services Automobile Association. All rights reserved. No Department of Defense or government agency endorsement. Post ID: Y0040_GCHM6ZAEN_M 

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