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Old 01-20-2016, 04:25 PM   #21
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I visit the VA clinic annually for a checkup and new diabetic socks and shoes, hearing aid adjustments and eyeglasses. My PCP is at a local military base so neither visit or meds cost me since I am 40% VA disabled and am retired military.
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Old 01-20-2016, 05:38 PM   #22
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I wasn't sure about this detail, is this what you do personally?
I will be getting a bronze plan after my mega-corp insurance is over this summer. I will contribute more to my mega-corp HSA at that time.
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Old 01-20-2016, 06:32 PM   #23
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Lots of good information here. I would also recommend at looking at the forum that is called "Veteran's Benefits Network." I can't remember the rules on posting other forums here, so if you just Google something to the effect of "VA Yuku", it will get you there.

There is a plethora of information that might be of some help to you and other vets. I know it was a great help for me when I was approaching my retirement date from the AF.
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Old 03-10-2016, 04:04 PM   #24
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Just following up after my first VA visit this morning. I made an appt at one of the community based outpatient clinics. The PCP assigned to me was an ARNP who a long visit to establish care. I also had a full panel of labs, an xray and a pneumovax done on site. She referred me to the joint clinic at the Seattle hospital and said she will order my meds that I prefer to get through a local pharmacy for a smaller copay. I was very impressed by how helpful everyone was. I still don't understand the billing, I do have private insurance high deductible plan which will not cover the VA, but I know they have to bill them anyway. Looking at the website it looks like the copay for a primary care visit is $15 and specialty care is $50, so we'll see what my out of pocket costs will be. Overall I am very impressed.
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:34 AM   #25
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Beware having to use VA coverage for emergency treatment outside the VA system under the Millennium Act. It is a bureaucratic nightmare. I am pretty happy with VA care as long as you are at your "home" VA provider, but the portability of VA care is horrible. I believe the administrative bureaucracy within the VA is waisting tax payers money and short changing vets on health care. I have had a really bad experience with the VA bureaucracy.


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Old 03-11-2016, 08:12 AM   #26
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Your private insurance will not pay bills from the VA? That's very uncommon and not desirable. I'd switch companies if you keep your private plan. There is no point in carrying outside insurance that doesn't work with the VA system.

Since you have a service connected issue I don't believe you will be billed for a co-pay.MY DH was Vetnam era in the system and had the co-pays. As soon as he got a service connected disability, all the co-pays went away.
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:26 AM   #27
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Beware having to use VA coverage for emergency treatment outside the VA system under the Millennium Act. It is a bureaucratic nightmare. I am pretty happy with VA care as long as you are at your "home" VA provider, but the portability of VA care is horrible. I believe the administrative bureaucracy within the VA is waisting tax payers money and short changing vets on health care. I have had a really bad experience with the VA bureaucracy.


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Agreed. I definitely don't want to get care outside the VA with the expectation that the VA will cover it. I can see that becoming a disaster. I know they gave us insurance cards for that purpose, but I wouldn't brave it. I am keeping an individual policy so I can get care outside the VA, but it is a Group Health plan so that is very limited. I will likely be changing plans next year. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:34 AM   #28
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Your private insurance will not pay bills from the VA? That's very uncommon and not desirable. I'd switch companies if you keep your private plan. There is no point in carrying outside insurance that doesn't work with the VA system.

Since you have a service connected issue I don't believe you will be billed for a co-pay.MY DH was Vetnam era in the system and had the co-pays. As soon as he got a service connected disability, all the co-pays went away.
Yeah, my individual insurance is a Group Health policy which is so limited it is kind of a joke. We are not eligible for subsidies so this costs us just under $600/mo for a plan for 2, with $4500 deductibles per person. It covers no out of network care and no care prior to meeting the deductible. It is DH's only insurance, and I don't feel comfortable only having the VA. We will definitely be looking at other options this fall.

I know the VA has to bill any insurance that a member has, but if I didn't have any other insurance they would be picking up the costs anyway. It would be great if there were no copays, that would be significant since I have this shoulder impingement that will need a fair bit of care. Thanks for your response.
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:51 AM   #29
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I know they gave us insurance cards for that purpose, but I wouldn't brave it.
You probably know this, but those "choice" cards can only be used with prior approval.
Ten Things to Know About the Choice Program - Veterans Health Administration
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:55 AM   #30
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You and your DH might want to get different policys...Consider a higher deductible for yourself so you would be certain of being covered in an emergency situation. The VA sending bills to your insurance is a good thing as it covers your deductible and costs you zero dollars.
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Old 03-11-2016, 11:00 AM   #31
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You probably know this, but those "choice" cards can only be used with prior approval.
Ten Things to Know About the Choice Program - Veterans Health Administration
Absolutely! Thanks for the link.
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Old 03-11-2016, 11:02 AM   #32
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You and your DH might want to get different policys...Consider a higher deductible for yourself so you would be certain of being covered in an emergency situation. The VA sending bills to your insurance is a good thing as it covers your deductible and costs you zero dollars.
That is an excellent idea. I would feel better if he had more comprehensive care.
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Old 03-11-2016, 11:26 AM   #33
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I still don't understand the billing, I do have private insurance high deductible plan which will not cover the VA, but I know they have to bill them anyway. Looking at the website it looks like the copay for a primary care visit is $15 and specialty care is $50, so we'll see what my out of pocket costs will be. Overall I am very impressed.
I would bet your insurance covers the VA. They will likely only cover the amount with an in-network price. If you have a service connected disability, the VA will not charge you. Even if you have a co-pay with your insurance plan, it is paid to the provider, not the insurance company. Your deductible gets

The VA is NOT in my network either, but BCBS still pays the policy amounts. It is considered in-network and pays accordingly. In 2016, I have already saved $910.32 that I would have otherwise have had to pay. In 2015, I saved a lot more.

Viagra (not that I need it) is only $8 for a 30-day prescription of four 100 mg pills. Cut them in 1/4, and you save a lot more. I was sent a blood pressure cuff, free. CPAP machine, free with ongoing supplies. They even have a great cafeteria there. Omelets are $4, with toast.

I also plan on getting a high-deductible policy. Anything I can plan for, I have the VA. Emergencies I am lucid enough to drive, or be driven, I can navigate the 4.6 miles from my home. I even thought about getting a wrist band that says take me to the VA if it is feasible.

If you do have an emergency, like a heart attack, you should be able to be transferred to the VA after a few hours. That stops the clock on medical bills.
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