Hello Jim, I'm a 100% disabled Veteran and on Medicare part A. I stopped part B around 6 years ago because I never used it for medical reasons. I'm turning 65 soon and am getting correspondence from Medicare to pick up part B again but pay late penalties. What's your take on getting Medicare parts A and B? I appreciate your guidance and help with this matter. They want me to sign the notice card to opt out of Medicare part B by July. If I don't sign the card and mail it in they'll make the penalty adjustments and place me on Medicare A and B again.


Jim's Reply:

Medicare A is required when you begin taking your SSA retirement or SSDI, opting out is very difficult. Medicare B is optional but as you've learned, if you don't take it when first offered the penalty for that can be brutal depending on how many years you delayed.

Health insurance is a very personal decision. If you live within easy reach of a VA medical center, that's likely all you need. If you aren't within an easy drive to your clinic, you may want Part B so you can visit civilian physicians at very low cost.

I have it all...VA care, Medicare A & B because I'm 3 hours away from my VA hospital and I'm 1 1/2 hours away from my VA primary care clinic. My small community has a very nice and highly rated hospital and a bunch of doctors offices that are less than 10 minutes from my house.

You see where I'm going with this. It's a lot more convenient for me to use my Medicare even if it costs me a little more. I do stay connected to VA health care because I like my VA primary care guy a lot and I have all prescriptions filled through VA.

You'll have to decide for yourself how much money you want to spend protecting your health and how comfortable you are relying on VA if you do without the extra insurance. Good luck sir.