Question: All of the attention in the news recently about the Veteran’s Administration Health Care System has made me wonder whether I am entitled to any assistance with paying for my prescriptions drugs?
Answer: The Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) is the arm of the Veteran’s Administration that administers healthcare to eligible veterans. The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system with over 1,700 sites of care, serving 8.76 million veterans each year. The VHA can assist elderly veterans with inpatient and outpatient care, nursing home care, home health care, adult day care and respite care. In addition, assistance with the payment for prescription drugs is also available for veterans who have enrolled in the system. In order for a veteran to receive any benefits that may be available through the healthcare system he must “enter” the system. This is done by completing VA form 10-10 EZ available on the internet at https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov. The form can be completed online. In addition to certifying your military service, you will have to provide information pertaining to your income and assets. Once you have completed the form and entered the system you will be assigned to one of eight priority groups. Priority Group One is the highest. Those in priority group one will have no costs associated with the care they receive through the VA and will also have no wait time for care. Priority Group One consists of those veterans who have a significant service connected disability and are unable to work as a result of that disability. Compare that with those veterans assigned to Priority Group Eight, these veterans are often without service connected disability and have either a high net worth, high income or both. Although these veterans can access healthcare through the system, they will have costs associated with accessing this care. Once you have completed the form, you will be required to have a physical examination by a VA physician; this is one more factor that will help to determine which priority group you are placed in. The lower the priority group the more benefits available to the veteran. Once enrolled in the system, the veteran can choose how much or how little they use the benefits. Enrolling in the system does not mean that you have to abandon your existing health coverage, only that you have an additional layer of coverage should you choose to use it. Enrolling in the system does not mean that you have to stop using your own doctors or your existing coverage through Medicare or any private insurance you may have.
Prescription drug coverage is a valuable benefit available through the VHA. Prescriptions can be obtained through the VA clinic, or in the alternative, you can rely on the VA solely to fill the prescription. In this case, the veteran received his prescription from his or her private physician and relies on the VA to fill the prescription. The savings can be significant. This is an extremely beneficial and often overlooked benefit of the Veterans Administration. Apply online or contact your local branch of the Veterans Administration for assistance in locating the treatment center closest to you.
– Nancy Burner, Esq.