Medicare cannot be billed for VA
health care, except in certain referrals
March 12, 2013
Dear Sgt. Shaft:
You should ensure to also advise
writers like Genevieve that Medicare cannot be billed for VA health care;
and neither can most Medicare supplements, such as TRICARE for
Exception: The only situation
where Medicare can be billed is
quite rare. That would be when VA refers the patient to a private non-VA
provider. Only then can Medicare be billed for residuals not covered
by the VA.
Command Sgt. Major, USAF,
Thanks for sharing this additional
information for our vets and their families.
• The Sarge joins the
Veterans of Foreign in applauding yesterday’s introduction of S.
470 to lower the Pentagon’s new
Distinguished Warfare Medal to below the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in
the military order of precedence. The Senate bill is a companion
to H.R. 833 that was introduced in late February to correct what
immediately became an extremely unpopular decision by former Secretary
of Defense Leon
“It is very important to
properly recognize all who faithfully serve and excel, but this new
medal — no matter how well intended — quickly deteriorated
into a morale issue,” said John E.
Hamilton, a combat-wounded Marine
Corps rifleman in Vietnam who leads the 2
million-member Veterans of Foreign
Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.
In announcing the new medal on
Feb. 13, the Pentagon
said the Distinguished Warfare Medal was created to recognize the
extraordinary impact that modern battlefield technology has enabled
service members to have on the battlefield, regardless of distance.
Hamilton said he agrees that those far from the fight are
having an immediate impact, and so does Sens. Jon Tester
(D-Mont.), Max Baucus
Boozman (R-Ark.), Dean
Heller (R-Nev.) and Joe
Manchin (D-W.V.) when they introduced S. 470.
“Our only disagreement is
the medal’s placement,” said Mr.
Hamilton, who discussed this issue with President Obama in
the Oval Office last week and included it as testimony before a joint
hearing of the Senate and
House Veterans Affairs Committees last Tuesday.
“We are grateful for the
president’s interest and the bipartisan congressional support,
because now is the time to lower the new medal’s precedence
— now before the first one is awarded,” he said. “We
know that overruling a predecessor’s decision puts Defense
Hagel into an uncomfortable position, but it is the absolute
right thing to do for the troops. Medals that can only be earned in
combat must mean more than new medals awarded in the rear.”
• Congratulations to the Military Officers
Association of America (MOAA), one
of three nonprofit organizations to receive a Dole
Foundation Innovation Grant for executing significant clearly
recognized unmet military family caregiver needs. The grant will provide
immediate relief to caregivers by creating an online manual titled
“Tips for Lifelong Caregiving.”
“We are honored to receive
this grant to produce a manual comprising what we have learned from our
work to improve the physical and psychological well-being of wounded,
ill and injured warriors, families and caregivers over the last
President Vice Adm. Norb Ryan Jr. said. “The manual includes
useful information collected from six years conducting symposia and
roundtable discussions at which MOAA and
our partners listened to caregivers.”
is working on the project with two initial partners: USAA is providing
expertise in the area of financial information, products and services;
and the American Bar Association is adding its expertise in legal
Foundation also announced recently that Google Inc. also has
agreed to provide digital support services to MOAA
and other Dole
Foundation grant recipients.
will provide the labor, expertise, project management and associated
work-related efforts to develop and implement the guide. The guide will
be a Web-based financial/legal tool to aid caregivers in their
contingency planning and decision-making. The tool will be available to
the public and will augment existing programs sponsored by the Dole
Foundation, DOD, VA and other agencies and individuals
Topics covered in the guide will
* Medical-Disability Insurance and
Benefits Programs (for example, DOD, VA Medicare-Medicaid, Social
Security, Caregiver and Aid & Attendance; In-Home & Nursing
* Fiduciary Matters;
* Powers of Attorney
(Durable/Non-Durable; for example, financial, medical, military,
benefits, tax, debt);
* Advance Directives;
* Legal Pro-bono Services &
* Financial-Estate Planning;
The guide is being developed with
the active participation of caregivers and will be aimed at helping
address the broad variety of needs they face in caring for their loved
ones over time.
A task force of key contributors
and pro-bono support will leverage existing collaborative relationships
and financial and legal expertise.
The initial digital guide is
targeted to be available by the end of June 2013. Updates will be added
on an ongoing basis.