VA drug care equals or tops Medicare D
The final date for signing up Medicare prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) is fast approaching. I am enrolled in the VA system, and confused as to whether I should sign up for Part D. Can you explain the difference?
Answer: Veterans have until tomorrow to sign up for the new Medicare prescription drug coverage. VA has determined that its prescription drug coverage for veterans enrolled in the VA health care program is at least as good as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage.
Veterans should remember that in addition to prescription drugs, VA's Medical Benefits Package provides a full range of health care benefits. Veterans will still be eligible to receive all current health and prescription drug benefits if they choose to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan. Veterans do not have to choose between VA coverage and a Medicare prescription drug plan; they may participate in either or both. However, if a veteran decides to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan and disenroll from VA, he or she may not be able to re-enroll later.
If a veteran's spouse is covered by Medicare, he or she must decide whether to enroll in a Part D plan regardless of the veteran's decision.
Although the enrollment period is about over, there will be a yearly enrollment period beginning this year from Nov. 15th throughout Dec. 31st. For more information on Medicare Part D, go to www.va.gov.
Q: Who is eligible to receive a burial flag?
A: Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making a request for it. The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl has an Avenue of Flags, and families of veterans buried in Punchbowl may donate the burial flags to be flown on patriotic holidays. For further information, call Punchbowl at 532-3720.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.