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Disabled War Vets Pay More For Health Care, Report Shows


allan

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  • HadIt.com Elder

This isn't news.. we have been shouting about this for years

Disabled war vets pay more for health care, report shows

http://www.signonsandiego.com/images/black.gif

also see http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/08/...in4242692.shtml

BLOOMBERG NEWS SERVICE http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20...ws_1n9vets.html July 9, 2008

Many former U.S. service members who were disabled while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and live far from government facilities pay more for health care than other military retirees, a government report found. To address this "inequity," Congress should pass legislation waiving the requirement for disabled service members to pay premiums to enroll in the federal Medicare program, the report said. Under existing rules, the wounded military personnel must pay $1,157 a year for their premiums until they turn 65, according to the report.

Disabled veterans who don't live near clinics and hospitals operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Defense Department can use Medicare, the government health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, or buy private health insurance. Either way, they pay more, said the report by inspectors general of the two departments.

The report is one of several government reviews prompted by a series of articles in The Washington Post describing the poor quality of care for wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The investigators focused their recommendations on three issues not covered by other reports.

The report also urged the Defense Department to create an office to ensure that wounded service members have a "seamless transition" as they transfer out of the military health care system and into the system operated by the VA.

In a third recommendation, the inspectors general urged the VA to propose legislation in Congress that would provide grants to help disabled veterans remodel their homes for wheelchair ramps, accessible showers and other needed amenities.

*********

AP) Some military retirees disabled in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pay more for health care than other retirees, and a new report recommends waiving their insurance premiums to correct the inequity.

The report Tuesday by inspectors general of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs suggests waiving for life the Medicare Part B premiums for service members who have been medically retired and are unlikely to get another job.

Service members judged unfit for continued service after a service-related injury or illness are called "medically retired" and are eligible to continue receiving care through the military health care system. But those who don't live near VA facilities can enroll in Medicare and go to civilian providers, the report said.

Such retirees pay roughly $1,160 annually in monthly premiums until reaching the age of 65, while other retirees remain in the military health care system and don't need the Medicare plan.

The proposed change is among recommendations made after a review of services available for troops injured in Afghanistan and Iraq as they transition from active duty in the military to the responsibility of the VA.

The review, started two years ago, didn't study the quality of medical care or individual cases, but rather efforts to improve the transition process. Release of the report was delayed to take into account legislation passed or proposed since the study started _ as well as recommendations by more than a half-dozen commissions and task forces that have looked at veteran and troop health care in recent years.

Those other studies made more than 400 recommendations _ now in varying stages of review or implementation.

"Since 2005, DOD and VA made significant progress modifying, updating and improving the systems supporting injured service members and veterans," the report said. "The final step will be to ensure implementation."

Some veterans have complained bitterly about falling through the cracks of the bureaucracy as they leave the Pentagon's care and transition to the VA. Some have complained about long waits to get appointments or about being discharged at a fraction of their pay, then waiting for months before their full disability payments arrive.

Cynthia O. Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said that among other efforts, the two departments have provided coordinators to guide wounded warriors and their families through medical recoveries and have set up a pilot program to simplify what was two exhaustive medical exams into one at the start of the disability process.

"Keep on, Keepin' on"

Dan Cedusky, Champaign IL "Colonel Dan"

See my web site at:

http://www.angelfire.com/il2/VeteranIssues/

Edited by allan (see edit history)
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