Listen to The Perfect Scam Podcast and Nominate It for a People’s Choice Podcast Award! Find Out More
En español | If you have VA coverage and are eligible for Medicare, you’re not required to enroll in Part B, but you may have good reasons to do so. The VA itself strongly recommends that all veterans with VA health care also enroll in Medicare Parts A and B as soon as they become eligible (unless they have group insurance from a current employer). Here’s why:
Your VA prescription drug coverage is much better and less expensive than Medicare’s, so you don’t need to join a Part D drug plan, and you won’t be hit with Part D late enrollment penalties if you lose VA coverage in the future, provided that you sign up with a Part D drug plan within two months of that coverage ending. If you have both VA and Part D drug coverage, you have the flexibility of using one or the other. This would allow you to get prescriptions from non-VA doctors and fill them at local retail pharmacies; obtain medications that the VA doesn’t cover; and apply for low-cost drug coverage under Part D’s Extra Help program if your income is under a certain level.
The Medicare and VA systems are entirely separate, with no coordination of benefits between them. You would use your VA identity card at VA facilities and your Medicare ID card anywhere else; then the bills would go either to the VA or to Medicare for payment.
For more information on the VA health care system, go to the VA website at https://www.va.gov/health/.
Return to Medicare Q&A Tool main page >>
Enter address, city, state, or ZIP code.
Driver Safety (0)
Tax Aide (0)
Entertainment & Dining (0)
Healthcare & Insurance (0)
Financial Services & Insurance (0)
Member Local Offers (0)
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at