I have been with the VA system for about 5 years now. I am qualified because of my exposure to Agent Orange during the year I spent on the ground in Vietnam. I watched defoliants being sprayed east of Camp Eagle, and drove through many such areas in a jeep after spraying. I am strictly a veteran, not a retiree, so any discussion about Tricare, or the fact that Tricare covered individuals must have Part B, is not applicable.
I am currently registered with the Dallas area system, and have obtained almost all my treatment (consisting only of annual physicals and prescriptions) at the CBOC in Denton. I have been very pleased with my treatment and their availability. I have never waited more than a couple weeks for my annual appointment.
I have availed myself of VA services on two other occasions. Once in Yuma, when I needed to get a prescription changed, I just showed up at the clinic. They let me see a Dr. who wrote the necessary script, and they offered to add Southern Arizona a a secondary area. I didn't have to do anything. They took care of it. The other time I needed the VA was when I had a medical emergency in Red Lodge MT. I went to the local emergency room for treatment, and I was kept overnight. The hospital handled everything to obtain approval from the VA in Montana. I was added to Montana as another secondary coverage area. The VA paid all the expenses of my hospital visit.
So, my experience with the VA to this point has been excellent. Other than that one incident in MT last year, an intestinal blockage, I am in very good health. At this point I am leaning toward declining Part B coverage with Medicare, and continuing with only Part A and the VA coverage. I am aware of the penalties involved in if I decide to add Part B at a later date, but it seems that $115 per month for a few years would offset any penalties I might incur if I change my mind.
I'd like to hear the thoughts of those who have recently had to make this decision. What did you do? How is it working out for you? Would you do the same thing again?
Edited by Rif, 18 October 2011 - 09:21 PM.