The Garden City Telegram
7/3/2013
SOUTHWEST LIFE

FAQs about Medicare, VA benefits

Frequently, questions arise about how Medicare and veterans benefits work together.

One questions is "Can I have both Medicare and veterans benefits?" Yes, you can have both, but Medicare and VA benefits do not work together. To receive VA benefits, you must get care at a VA facility. Medicare does not pay for any care provided at a VA facility. Many veterans use their VA health benefits to get coverage for services not covered by Medicare. For example, some veterans use VA services to obtain prescription drugs that are excluded from Medicare drug coverage, but rely on Medicare for their other prescriptions and medical care.

Another questions is "Should I enroll in the Medicare drug benefit (Part D) if I have VA drug coverage?" Since VA coverage is more comprehensive than Medicare drug coverage, you probably do not want to enroll in a Medicare private drug plan. Also, Medicare only works with VA benefits in the rare cases when you have VA permission to get services in a non-VA facility. Since VA pays first and Medicare pays second, you will not need Medicare to supplement your VA drug coverage.

In addition, if you ever do want to enroll in the Medicare drug benefit later, VA drug coverage is considered as good as the Medicare drug benefit ("creditable coverage") so you will not have to pay a penalty as long as you enroll in the Medicare drug benefit within 63 days of losing VA benefits. With no premiums and no or limited co-pays for prescriptions, VA coverage is comparable to Medicare drug coverage with Extra Help. However, you may want to join a Medicare private drug plan if you live very far from a VA facility and the Medicare private drug plan includes nearby pharmacies in its network, or if you live in a nursing home that does not accept your VA drug benefits.

Another question is "Can I drop Medicare and just use VA benefits?" If you are eligible for Medicare, you should not rely solely on VA benefits for your health care needs. Medicare does not work with VA benefits and if you receive care outside of a VA facility you might need Medicare. Medicare will not pay for any care received at a VA facility. You should enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B to guarantee coverage outside the VA system. If you drop Medicare, you will have to get all your health care at VA facilities. Since the VA does not guarantee benefits to all veterans, you could be left with no coverage at all and you may not always be near a VA facility.

Help available

Interfaith Housing Services is an organization with the objective of meeting housing needs in our community. One way they help is with weatherization. Weatherization improves heating efficiency and fuel savings by ensuring that homes hold heat and air conditioning in, while keeping the hot and cold air out. Eligible households can receive a comprehensive home assessment that may include repair or replacement of heating systems, insulation and air sealing. Income guidelines apply.

If you feel like you could benefit from the weatherization program, call Interfaith Housing Services at (620) 662-8370 or 1-877-447-5927 for more information.

Thanks for help

Many thanks to the volunteers who delivered Meals on Wheels last week. Are you interested in helping with Meals on Wheels? Substitute drivers are always needed. If you would like to help, call Patti at 272-3620 or 260-6282.

Scheduled activities

Thursday, we are closed for the holiday. Services resume Friday at the regular time.

Friday, the day begins with line dancing at 8:30 a.m. A nurse from St. Catherine Hospital will be here from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge starts at 12:45 p.m.

Saturday, the pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday has duplicate bridge at 2 p.m.

Monday begins with walking at 8:30 a.m. Double pinochle begins at 12:30 p.m. Duplicate bridge starts at 7 p.m.

Tuesday has gentle exercises at 11 a.m. Pitch starts at 12:30 p.m. Bridge begins at 1:15 p.m.

July 10 has line dancing at 8:30 a.m. Pinochle starts at 12:40 p.m. Completely Unraveled meets at 1 p.m. The regular Wednesday night dance featuring Bob Walter begins at 7:30 p.m. The recommended donation is $5.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Closed for the holiday.

Friday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, green beans, tossed salad, mixed fruit, French bread.

Monday: Chicken enchilada, Corn O'brien, spinach salad, ice cream.

Tuesday: Roast beef with potatoes and gravy, steamed cabbage, spiced peach gelatin salad, muffin.

July 10: Porcupine meatballs, Romanoff potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower salad, cinnamon roll, ambrosia.

Celebrating 35 years at the Senior Center of Finney County. Check out our website at www.seniorcenterfc.com.