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Healthcare Veterans vs Medicare

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  • Healthcare Veterans vs Medicare

    I hope I am asking this question in the correct area...... and if this the appropriate forum

    Wife's and my situation...... I am retired for the most part. My wife is still employed and has healthcare for the both of us. She will be retiring soon, and will be purchasing COBRA until Medicare eligible. I have always used her insurance for healthcare, prescriptions, etc. even though I am a partially disabled veteran with VA healthcare coverage. We are now checking on the cost of COBRA for each of us...... we are unsure about VA healthcare only for me. The only thing I have ever done with the VA is help getting a hearing aid. Right now we are leaning towards picking up COBRA for me as well...... if priced reasonable

    Does anyone here have experience with Medicare and the VA coordinating benefits? Would the VA become my primary insurance, with Medicare being secondary? Does anyone have any feedback on this situation?....... or have you "skipped" medicare and gone with the VA coverage only?

  • #2
    A lot depends on your local VA medical system.  The Washington, DC VA medical center seemed scary back around 2007.  San Diego VA has been excellent.  On the other hand, the Phoenix VA has made the news for all the wrong reasons.


    • #3
      So you don't have a PCP at the VA?  I was thinking that was required.  Depending on your VA benefits it will probably be much cheaper to go there.  COBRA can be extremely expensive.  Occasionally a medicine will be cheaper outside the VA, as they have a standard co-pay for everything, even if it's $4 at walmart..


      • #4
        Exactly what Hank said.   If you've seen one VA, you've seen one VA.   The care varies greatly and oversight varies with that too.  If you're fortunate to be in an area with an academically aligned VA, you should be fine.

        COBRA is way expensive .   Exchanges is another option to check too.


        • #5

          So you don’t have a PCP at the VA?
          Click to expand...

          It's kind of annoying that your PCP is a primary care provider instead of a primary care physician.  Sorry, but I'd rather have someone who got into and through med school as my doctor.

          Guess we can't have concierge medicine and socialized medicine at the same time.


          • #6
            I worked at one VA (Charleston SC) - a state with relatively a lot of veterans and relatively lower income.  Generally, I'd recommend against having your only care at the VA if you have the resources.  There are so many who have no other option.  Now that I've left the VA, I see several patients who see me for their primary care, and see a PCP every 12-18 months to stay in the system for the purposes of getting medications & hearing aids.    But, as said above, once you've seen one VA, you've seen one VA.


            • #7
              Agree with everyone, VAs are very location dependent. Some arent great, others are staffed by doctors/surgeons shared with some of the best universities/hospitals in the country and receive excellent care. I loved our rotations at the VA, we did great work, mostly head and neck cancer excision/reconstruction and had some great people in other departments as well.



              • #8
                A few has already mention this, but I'd like to echo.  It is very VA dependent.  Some are excellent, while others are not.  VA hospitals and clinics have gotten bad rep in recent years due to Phoenix VA.   But if it was up to me, I picked VA benefits over my private Kaiser insurance from my personal experience.  There are instances when VA falls short due to shortage of specialists, which lead to long wait time.  But now you have the option to be referred to the private sector through CHOICE program.

                Good luck, and thank you for your sacrifice.