Honoring Our Veterans with Better Care

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"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." These words from President John F. Kennedy demonstrate the true spirit of Veterans Day. Every year on November 11, our country honors the millions of Americans who have served in our armed forces. A big part of caring for our service men and women means doing our part to ease their transition back into civilian life.

The United States' support for its veterans goes back to the Continental Congress of 1776 with the creation of a pension system for disabled revolutionary soldiers. Today's Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), established in 1988, has come a long way in providing programs and benefits for our veterans and their families. Benefits range from affordable loans to education programs to employment opportunities, but health care remains the VA's most important and popular function.

The VA's health insurance program is both convenient and affordable for veterans, and can cover a wide range of care, including medical procedures and prescription medicines. However, beneficiaries must pay out-of-pocket if they use providers or need medicines outside of VA coverage.

To fill this potential gap in coverage, eligible veterans sometimes choose to use in Medicare to supplement their existing plan. According to recent studies, as many as 51% of U.S. veterans sign up for Medicare. In 2014, 36% of veterans enrolled in Part D, Medicare's Prescription Drug Benefit. With a base premium of just $32.50 per month, Medicare Part D provides an inexpensive and high quality way for our veterans to broaden their treatment options.

If this combination of coverage seems like the right fit, now is the time to take action. Medicare's Open Enrollment Period runs through December 7th. Be sure to contact the VA if you have any questions or concerns regarding your insurance.