Ask Bob: Should I combine Medigap with TRICARE?

Ask Bob: Should I combine Medigap with TRICARE?

By Robert Powell, CFP®, Retirement Daily, October 15, 2020

Question

Can you tell me if a Medigap policy would be of any value if I already have TRICARE with my Medicare? Our medications have gone from 0 to $20 a refill since Trump came in, can be $40 or higher, and some are not covered, although the doctor could find an alternative. Although not needed now, in the future, I could need rides to the doctor or meals.

Answer

A person cannot have a Medigap plan and TRICARE at the same time, says Dr. Katy Votava, president of Goodcare.com. Given that a Medigap plan does not cover prescription medications, it would not help you, she adds. In fact, if you took on a Medigap plan, you would also need a Medicare “standalone prescription drug plan.” Votava explains, “The total cost of both of those plans would inevitably be higher than TRICARE.” You’re better off staying with TRICARE as a supplement to Medicare.

“That said,” she notes, “the retired military TRICARE beneficiary might get prescription medication cost relief by participating in VA healthcare. Retired military TRICARE beneficiaries are eligible for VA healthcare in addition to TRICARE. VA healthcare can provide prescription drug coverage with lower co-pays but require the person to see VA healthcare providers periodically.”

Votava says many prescription medications are more economical through the VA. “People do use VA healthcare in addition to TRICARE and other Medicare coverages to save money on medications, she adds. Votava adds this note, “The spouse of a retired military TRICARE beneficiary is not eligible for VA Healthcare.” Read more.

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