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jharrelson

Veteran's Health Care System

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read the post about a "Veteran Identification Card" being shipped.. and did not want to hijack that thread so decided to post a new thread about VA benefits..
Hope that's OK with admin and members.. if not let me know and I'll delete this thread.

Interesting subject, I did not know anything about that "ID card" .. but I'm curious why doesn't every honorably discharged veteran sign up for the 'Veteran's Health Care System" ?

According to the VA handbook, the last time I read it  ..  every honorably discharged veteran .. AND... every military member presently on active duty is eligible for the VA Health Care System..

You do NOT have to be a  discharged veteran  to be part of the VA Health Care System.

Yes, it's true .. not every veteran will get free medical, some have to pay a co-pay … it depends on their rating classification.

I'm in classification  3 and everything** is 100% free to me .. Doctor visits, operations, eye glasses, hearing aids, etc   …  **my only cost is a  $5  co-pay on meds. 

Dental work is a cat of a whole different color and very few veterans are eligible for dental care.   Maybe one day all veterans will be able to receive dental care at no cost.

Remember just because the veteran is signed up and has the official VA card does not mean they must actually use the system. They just make the occasional appointment every couple of years to keep their status updated.

Also many veterans think that if they are on  "TRI-CARE"  they cannot belong to the VA Health Care System..  NOT TRUE..

All honorably discharged veterans, including those veterans on TRI-CARE  and all active military personnel are eligible for the Veteran's Health Care System.

I have met many veterans at the Reno VA hospital over the past 15 plus years that were "Non-Service Related injury"  and had to pay a co-pay for everything .. but they said even with the co-pay it was still cheaper than going to a civilian doctor.  I cannot verify that and can only repeat what they told me.

and I've talked to veterans on TRI-CARE for Life that go to the Reno  VA hospital instead of using the TRICARE system because it is easier and more simple in their particular circumstance. (Have no idea what their circumstance was/is and did not want to be rude by asking)

The Veteran's Health Care System Card is a legal and official US Government identification card and I've used it many times along with my driver's license when two forms of ID were required ..

I also am enrolled in and have the little white Id card for the "Veteran's Choice Program" that allows me to see civilian doctors and have medical treatments from outside the VA medical system.. I've  had a couple of operations and treatments at no cost to me in  local medical facilities here in  Carson City, .. saves me time and gas going to Reno VA hospital. I like that part :P

As we all know, things can change over time, so if anyone has any updates to what I've said, please join this discussion and update any outdated info..

 

Thanks,

John

 

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Could have something to do with a person having better healthcare options thru work.   Or, maybe they don't know or don't care. 

There are plenty of folks in this forum who have poor opinions of the VA healthcare system, just as there are plenty of folks on this forum who have good opinions of the VA healthcare system.  I am in the former group.

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This Navy vet is retiring at 62 and going full time. I have a VA card that i got about 5 years ago for ID purposes.  

I’m a vet, not a retiree. ‘75-‘79, not wartime.  Does that make a difference in the healthcare system?  Is the VA system someone who travels around the country can use?

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Yes you can use around the country.  However in that you will not have a PCP  Primary Care Provider at that given location be prepared for some long wait times at the VA.  You will be required to use the walk in/sick call clinics.

Dennis

Edited by DJW

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42 minutes ago, WileyOhio said:

This Navy vet is retiring at 62 and going full time. I have a VA card that i got about 5 years ago for ID purposes.  

I’m a vet, not a retiree. ‘75-‘79, not wartime.  Does that make a difference in the healthcare system?  Is the VA system someone who travels around the country can use?

Yes, it makes a difference.  The VA has priority groups to qualify for healthcare. https://www.va.gov/health-care/

Is there anything that will make me more likely to get these benefits?

Yes. You may qualify for enhanced eligibility status (meaning you’ll be placed in a higher priority group, which makes you more likely to get benefits) if you meet at least one of the requirements listed below.

At least one of these must be true. You:

  • Receive financial compensation (payments) from VA for a service-connected disability
  • Were discharged for a disability resulting from something that happened to you in the line of duty
  • Were discharged for a disability that got worse in the line of duty
  • Are a recently discharged combat Veteran
  • Get a VA pension
  • Are a former Prisoner of War (POW)
  • Have received a Purple Heart
  • Have received a Medal of Honor
  • Get (or qualify for) Medicaid benefits
  • Served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
  • Served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998
  • Served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987

If none of the above apply to you, you may still qualify for care based on your income. Learn more about how the amount of money your family makes can affect whether you qualify for VA benefits.
Learn more about income limits.

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John was dead on with everything he posted. All honorably discharged vets are eligible. I also want to emphasize that using the VA is not charity or welfare of any kind. Many people were too frightened or disdainful of serving in the military, and some just blew off their draft board one way or another. Every vet EARNED those benefits because each man and woman who served at any time gave our country a blank check for our time, up to an including death. Please realize you are our comrades in arms and we welcome you home. 

If you qualify register with your VA and get your ID card. No one will make you use it. Having it is like owning a gun: I'd rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it, and the ultimate decision to pull the trigger. If you think they are charity hospitals, think again. And with all the attention and changes in the VA in the last five years they should have nothing but competent docs now.

If you served honorably for more than 18 months the VA will give you benefits. I am USAF Retired, 30% service connected with more under review, and am Now Tricare For Life. Back when we were full time we were Tricare standard and used military base doctors and the VA while we were full-time 1997-2003.

I highly encourage all vets get their VA picture ID card and get registered in the VA system. They were threatening to have a nationwide database so re-registering and waiting in the ER for hours would no longer be the norm. I don't think they have done that yet.

When we were here at Barksdale AFB active, and after retirement in Louisiana near her family, we had our own civilian doc under Tricare. However when we went on the road just after retiring from active duty directly into full time RVing, we knew no doctors wherever we stayed. RVRs didn't know either so we both felt more comfortable with USAF hospitals and one time at Madigan Army medical center while were at the McChord AFB famcamp and they took no retirees at that time so we had to go to Madigan. I feel much more comfortable with military/VA docs. As a stranger in any town, and in any emergency room today, you will have a wait of several hours if not bleeding out and still breathing. And with any unknown doc I could have gotten one of the bad ones. I have gotten excellent care and adequate care at every VA I used. The Army and USAF hospitals were outstanding. Today many if not most military hospitals are closed and

I have used the local regional VA center and the one in Roseburg Oregon when we were staying at the Sutherlin SKP COOP just North of Roseburg and it was excellent. https://www.va.gov/directory/guide/viewmap.cfm?mapID=4&id=113

John, good to see you active here again. I heard you retired from the front line fire fighter support activities. I hope you are doing well.
 

Edited by RV_

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Derek covered a lot of good ground in his post, and I would just add that I have both the VA Healthcare System photo ID card and the new photo Veterans Identification Card. Occasionally I've run across a vendor that honors one but not the other for their vet discount. The VIC is easy to get online.

I haven't used any VA facilities yet except a local CBOC (Community Based Outpatient Clinic) for an initial enrollment physical, but as Derek said, "better to have it and not need it..."

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Thanks guys!  I’m more confident after hearing your experiences.  And if I have any trouble at the VA, I’ll just tell the nearest ER that I identify as an illegal immigrant and get free care!  Ha!

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4 hours ago, WileyOhio said:

Thanks guys!  I’m more confident after hearing your experiences.  And if I have any trouble at the VA, I’ll just tell the nearest ER that I identify as an illegal immigrant and get free care!  Ha!

And free room and board for a while!

snlno.gif

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On ‎1‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 10:09 AM, DJW said:

Yes you can use around the country.  However in that you will not have a PCP  Primary Care Provider at that given location be prepared for some long wait times at the VA.  You will be required to use the walk in/sick call clinics.

Dennis

Dennis,

You mentioned long wait times.  Do you mean hours, days, weeks, or months?  I'm remembering the stories of guys dying while waiting to see a Dr, is why I ask.  I can see waiting for hours for a walk-in with a non-critical illness.  My PCP has that at times.  I'm 2 weeks out till I can see a gastro Dr. just for a consultation and I've got good insurance, so I get that they aren't sitting around waiting for us.  I'm just wondering if the VA is a viable option until Medicare kicks in 3 years down the road.  Or maybe I should get catastrophic coverage also.

Thanks for serving all those years.

Wiley 

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Wiley

I am talking hours if you are going through the sick call clinic.  It could be weeks or months if you would need to see some type of specialist.

Dennis

 

 

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The VA is horrible for traveling. If you need care and you are outside your local area where you are registered your only option is the emergency room at a VA hospital. Otherwise, you have to go to a VA clinic, register for care there, wait for an appointment to get a primary care doctor (we're talking weeks) then get a referral for whatever care you need from the primary, (more weeks) and then go from there. If you need care sooner you need to go to a VA hospital emergency room. I personally have sat for 10 hours before finally giving up and leaving. Others have spent longer wait times. The level of care I have received from the VA health care system in 3 states has been horrible. Fortunately, I am now eligible for Medicare so now I seek all my medical care outside the VA and just use them for meds. I would never allow the VA to do any types of operations or anything other than blood tests and simple physical exams. Any diagnoses from a VA doctor is subject to a second opinion and in many instances, the outside doctors have found the VA to be totally wrong in their diagnoses. But that is just my experiences in over 10 years and in multiple locations. Chuck

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I think the biggest difference is when you have multiple service connected and are registered as over 30%, and retired with 20 years plus active duty. I use my private primary care doctor when home. I pick up prescriptions on base. Thus our decision to move to Colorado Springs. 4 major bases. We shop at the commissary and do save.

I only used the VA while on the road and no bases nearby or could wait. I used one private doctor in Soldotna AK who took Tricare before I was TFL. I found longer waits at civilian hospitals and clinics than my limited experience with the three or four times I used them while traveling. Most of the time traveling I used base hospitals or VA and my private docs who take TFL at home.

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Unlike Chuck I have had great experiences with the VA during my travels.  I have used the VA in 3 locations with 2 of them being away from my home location.  The VA in HI and the VA at Loma Linda, CA.  Now that being said I was in both  locations for more than 30 days at a time so I was able to establish a relationship  with the facility.  I agree with Chuck that if you were thinking quick in and quick out you will not be a happy camper with the results.  If you are going to be spending extended times near a VA then get registered with that facility and I might suggest that you take the right attitude into the facility when dealing with them.  If you go in with the attitude of "can you help me please" it will go along ways vs going in with the attitude of "this is might right and I am entitled to it".  With that attitude they will dick you over every time regardless of what you think you are entitled to.

Dennis

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22 hours ago, DJW said:

Unlike Chuck I have had great experiences with the VA during my travels.  I have used the VA in 3 locations with 2 of them being away from my home location.  The VA in HI and the VA at Loma Linda, CA.  Now that being said I was in both  locations for more than 30 days at a time so I was able to establish a relationship  with the facility.  I agree with Chuck that if you were thinking quick in and quick out you will not be a happy camper with the results.  If you are going to be spending extended times near a VA then get registered with that facility and I might suggest that you take the right attitude into the facility when dealing with them.  If you go in with the attitude of "can you help me please" it will go along ways vs going in with the attitude of "this is might right and I am entitled to it".  With that attitude they will dick you over every time regardless of what you think you are entitled to.

Dennis

 

16 hours ago, RV_ said:

X2

X#3

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Interesting post on VA Health Care. All eligible? I thought when I signed up back in the 70’s this was a benefit of being a veteran. Served 6 years in USAF. Heart attack in my 40’s. Tried to sign up for health care several years back. Was told I made too much money as a public teacher in Texas to be eligible for any VA health benefits. Luckily I had good insurance through the school system. I was told that my income had to be near the poverty level before I had a chance at VA health care. Now retired from public teaching & insurance has went down hill drastically. 

Will have to look back into VA health care once more to see if I can qualify. 

 

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while I do agree with the fact that all are eligible to apply, but all are not eligible to receive, I applied and got a letter that I was not eligible to receive because I made to much money,  

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