Dad's medical costs were taken care of thanks to being a retired Navy officer. What benefits he couldn't get as a retiree were augmented by the fact that the Veterans Administration rated him as 100% disabled. It was a little tricky. I had to take him to both the Tripler Army Medical Center and the VA Clinic. I learned quickly that if the VA was not kept in the loop, they would balk on covering what the Tripler wouldn't cover.
Just before Dad died, Tripler cancelled the Silver Plan for retirees. They were pressuring us to sign up for Medicare B coverage and warning that they might refuse to treat him at some point. Dad had not signed up for Medicare B at age 65 because he was assured that he would never need it, being a veteran. If we signed up now at age 80, it would cost him quite a bit due to penalties for late signup. I decided not to sign up since I knew that the VA would take care of him even if I had to take him to them exclusively. And since the VA clinic was next door to Tripler, they referred patients and authorized payment to the hospital when they couldn't handle the issue in the clinic.
Dad passed away before we had to put these scenarios to the test but if I had it to do over again, I would have insisted he sign up for Medicare B at 65. I know I plan to do so.
Mom received some coverage as a wife of a retired officer and war veteran, but some things (like dental and optical) were not covered. Knowing that, she signed up for Medicare A and B at age 65. Having the "B" coverage helped pay for most of her wheel chair.
Dad's dental and optical was taken care of by the VA. They did a great job but the free prescription glasses looked hilarious on him. We finally convinced him to buy a pair that helped him look more like "an officer and a gentleman." MORE>