A vet asks if he will lose his medical coverage

October 8, 2013

Dear Sgt. Shaft,

I had read where if you are considered 100% disabled that your spouse's ID card expiration date could be extended.

I am retired with 20 years of service and rated by VA at 70% with a permanent and total disability. Unemployable.

I renewed the wife's card yesterday and was told that in order to do that, I would go from a retired status to disabled on my ID card. In doing so, he said I would lose my medical coverage.

I don't see how that would happen because I fall under Tricare for Life and pay into Medicare part B. I am 51.

Thanks!

David

Dear David,

It sounds like some wires may have crossed in the process.

A 100% disabled “discharged”, not retired, veteran is eligible for an identification card that allows access to base facilities but not medical benefits. Retirees maintain their earned medical benefits. Maybe the clerk was thinking of the card for discharged veterans when the stopped medical benefits were mentioned.

There are two reasons identification cards expiration dates can be extended. One is that you are 75 years old or more. The other is that a person is incapacitated and not capable of updating an ID Card. I do not know of a longer expiration date for the reason you quote.

Shaft Notes

• The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that Veterans will have greater access to quality health care through a new initiative: Patient-Centered Community Care (PCCC).

“PCCC is an innovative solution that helps VA medical centers continue to provide quality care efficiently,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This will be a valuable option for VA medical centers to use to expand our Veterans’ access to care.”

Under PCCC, VA medical centers will have the ability to purchase non-VA medical care for Veterans through contracted medical providers when they cannot readily provide the needed care due to geographic inaccessibility or limited capacity. Eligible Veterans will have access to inpatient specialty care, outpatient specialty care, mental health care, limited emergency care, and limited newborn care for enrolled female Veterans following the birth of a child.

“PCCC provides a regional contracting vehicle for VA to work with local community providers to give Veterans access to high quality care,” said Dr. Robert Petzel, VA’s Under Secretary for Health. “It will also help VA in our continued efforts to ensure timely and accessible services are provided to Veterans for non-VA medical care.”

In total, VA has awarded two contracts under PCCC, one to Health Net Federal Services LLC and another to TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. These companies will set up networks in six regions covering the entire country. VA expects to have these regional contract networks available to its medical centers by the spring of 2014. The awarded contracts, estimated at $9.4 billion, include one base year and four option years.

PCCC is part of the overall Non-VA Medical Care Program. It will provide all VA facilities with an additional option to purchase non-VA medical care when required Veteran care services are unavailable within the VA medical facility or when the Veterans benefit from receiving the needed care nearer to their homes.

Among the many benefits to the Veterans and VA under these new contracts, VA will enjoy standardized health care quality metrics, timely return of medical documentation, cost avoidance with fixed rates for services across the board, guaranteed access to care, and enhanced tracking and reporting of non-VA medical care expenditures over traditional non-VA medical care services.

• Kudos to Applebee’s restaurants who will once again offer a FREE meal to veterans and active military on Veterans Day November 11, to say Thank You to the neighborhood’s real heroes. We’re sharing the date – Monday, Nov. 11 – with you as early as possible and asking that you share the news with your members, subscribers, readers, family, friends and colleagues.

  • Here are the details:

      U.S. veterans and active duty personnel with proof of current or former military service will be treated to a free meal from the Veteran’s Day menu at all  Applebee’s in their respective neighborhoods on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013.

      The Veteran’s Day menu includes seven delicious dishes to choose from: Fiesta Lime Chicken, Three-Cheese Chicken & Sundried Tomato Penne, Double   Crunch Shrimp, 7 oz. House Sirloin, Chicken Tenders Platter, Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger and the Oriental Chicken Salad.

      Proof of service includes the following: U.S. Uniform Services Identification Card, U.S. Uniform Services Retired Identification Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement, Veterans Organization Card, photograph in uniform or wearing uniform, DD214, Citation or Commendation.

Monday, Nov. 11, will mark the fifth straight Veterans Day that Applebee’s has saluted veterans and active military for their service. Each year, veterans and active military from across generations enjoy great Applebee’s food as they share stories, reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

In addition to offering free meals on Monday, Nov. 11, the online Thank You Movement continues this year to ensure our heroes receive Thank You messages beyond Veterans Day. Applebee’s is encouraging guests to leave a message for our veterans and active military at www.thankyoumovement.com. Thank Yous can also be delivered on Facebook and Twitter by using the #thankyoumovement hashtag, and through YouTube. Veterans and active duty troops can go online anytime to see and hear the heartfelt thanks of the people they serve. Initiated in 2011, the Thank You Movement has generated more than 4.5 million Thank You messages to date and is the largest ongoing military Thank You initiative in the nation.

• Shame on those responsible for the closure the Library of Congress website due to the temporary shutdown of the federal government, beginning October 1, 2013 until further notice. This means that talking books are not accessible to the blind.

All public events are cancelled and web sites are inaccessible except the legislative information sites THOMAS.gov and beta.congress.gov.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or email sgtshaft@bavf.org.