Saudi Arabia has shut down half of its oil production after drones attacked the world's largest oil processing facility in the kingdom.Marketsread more
Yemen's Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attacks, which created a huge fire at a processor essential to global energy supplies.Politicsread more
Oil prices are expected to jump as much as $10 per barrel after a coordinated drone strike hit Saudi Arabia's largest oil field, forcing the kingdom to cut its oil output in...Marketsread more
Trusii's hydrogen water machines were supposed to help users with their health problems, but customers claim the company is involved in a giant scam.Technologyread more
The decoupling of the world's two weightiest economies seems as inescapable as its extent and global impact remains incalculable.Politicsread more
The trucking industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Uber is going after this market with Uber Freight, an online platform that matches truckers with...Technologyread more
BlackBerry has reinvented itself to become a leader in securing mobile communications and in embedded communications. Next year it plans to roll out new products. CEO John...Evolveread more
Trailers have become a cult phenomenon. Even short teasers that reveal little about the plot of the upcoming film are headline-worthy. Blogs and forums have become devoted...Entertainmentread more
Thanks to the performance of Beyond Meat, investors who focus on venture-backed tech IPOs have done well this year despite some notable disappointments.Technologyread more
Software company Intuit, maker of tax helper TurboTax, is in its eleventh year of stock gains and up 36% this year.Investingread more
CNBC did a deep dive through the most recent Wall Street research to find stocks with upside potential.Marketsread more
If you get health care through the Veterans Health Administration and are nearing your 65th birthday, don't overlook whether Medicare would make sense for you.
While not all military veterans rely on VA health care, those who do might not realize they can use Medicare alongside their existing benefits.
"Many are in the dark about using both," said certified financial planner Hans "John" Scheil, CEO and owner of Cardinal Advisors in Durham, North Carolina. "But there are a lot of options for veterans when it comes to Medicare."
The VA health system provides care for 9 million veterans each year at its 1,250 facilities, including 172 medical centers and more than 1,000 outpatient sites across the country. However, it generally doesn't cover care outside of those locations.
"With Medicare, you have much broader options," said Elizabeth Gavino, founder of Lewin & Gavino in New York and an independent broker and general agent for Medicare plans. "You can have access to doctors and hospitals not near a VA facility, or you might want a second opinion from a doctor outside the system."
The program encourages those using VA health care to sign up for Medicare when first eligible. Doing so has no impact on your VA coverage.
You get seven months to sign up; the enrollment period starts three months before the month in which you turn 65 and ends three months after your birthday month. For example, if the big day is June 15, your signup window begins March 1 and ends Sept. 30. And remember, signing up for Medicare does not affect your VA health-care benefits.
Medicare Part A, which provides hospital coverage, costs nothing. The standard premium for Part B, which is for outpatient care and medical equipment, is $135.50 for 2019. (Those with higher incomes pay more. See chart.)
Like the rest of the population, if you don't sign up for Part B when you're first eligible, you could face a life-lasting penalty if you change your mind later. And the longer you delay, the higher the amount that gets tacked on to your premium.
It's worth noting that for veterans who plan to use TriCare for Life — an insurance program administered by the Department of Defense — you must enroll in Medicare Parts A and B.
Part D, which is for prescription drug coverage, is optional. Some people using VA health care sign up for it so they can get their medicine from non-VA doctors and have their prescriptions filled at their local pharmacy instead of through the VA mail-order service.
However, VA prescription drug coverage generally comes with lower costs than a Part D plan. And, there's no harm in not signing up: If you don't do it when you're first eligible for Medicare and then change your mind later, you won't pay a penalty because it is considered "creditable" by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Gavino said that some people with VA health care decide to go with a Medicare Advantage Plan, which includes Parts A and B, and typically D. These plans often come with extras such as dental and vision coverage, or gym memberships.
"Some of those plans have a low or no premium," Gavino said. "If you never want to use the plan, you don't have to."
This would mean that it costs nothing unless you use it and face a deductible or copay (or both), depending on the particulars of the plan. You'd also have an out-of-pocket maximum.
Meanwhile, some people with VA health care who sign up for Medicare Parts A and B decide to get a Medigap policy instead of an Advantage Plan (you cannot have both).
More from Personal Finance:
Want to retire and then hit the books? 10 great college towns for retirees
Retiring abroad in 2019? Consider these top 5 locations
Make sure spending doesn't trip up your New Year's resolutions
This type of supplemental insurance helps cover the cost of deductibles, copays and coinsurance associated with Medicare.
However, you only get six months to purchase a Medigap policy without an insurance company nosing through your health history and deciding whether to insure you. This "guaranteed-issue" period starts when you first sign up for Medicare.
After that window, unless your state allows special exceptions, you have to go through medical underwriting. And depending on your health, that process could cause the Medigap insurer to charge you more or deny coverage altogether.