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Old 12-11-2007, 09:35 AM   #1
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Veteran Administration (VA) care and Medicare

I've just turned 65 and am getting ready to start traveling a lot from Minnesota (especially in winter, brr). I know Medicare A is free, but Part B will cost me $95 or so a month, and will go up 10% for each year I dally in signing up for it.

I'm a veteran, and have gotten good care from the VA in the past. If I travel, what's the consensus on that type of care around the country? In other words, if I have a medical emergency (God forbid) on a Sunday afternoon in a town without a VA clinic, what happens? Would I be transferred to a nearby VA hospital? If so, who pays for the ambulance ride?

If it's something nonemergency, I could drive to a VA hospital myself.

I'm healthy, with no serious medical problems so far, thank God. Meds I buy from the VA. I see a doc regularly for checkups. I could put the $100/month into an account for health purposes, but that's only $1200 a year.

Anyone have experience with this? Thanks.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:03 AM   #2
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Well first of all, Welcome aboard Dale,

As a vet you already know that you are entitled to VA benefits. If I read it right, you already have your VA Clinic I.D. Card. That's the first step. You should go online to the Veterans Administration website Health Care — Veterans Health Administration Home and print a list of all clinics/hospitals that will be on your route.
Benefits on the Go

VA enrollment allows health care benefits to become portable throughout the entire VA system. Enrolled veterans who are traveling or who spend time away from their primary treatment facility may obtain care at any VA health care facility across the country without the worry of having to reapply.

You can even apply online before you take off. Apply Online - U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Anyway, hope this helps.....
By the way, Nullus Air force Base, North Las Vegas is in the process of having a new Vet Hospital constructed on or near the base. (Haven't been there in over a year but that's what I heard) !

Safari-Rick, USN Retired


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Old 12-11-2007, 10:29 AM   #3
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VA Health Care Eligibility & Enrollment
Direct quote from their web site.
VA enrollment allows health care benefits to become portable throughout the entire VA system. Enrolled veterans who are traveling or who spend time away from their primary treatment facility may obtain care at any VA health care facility across the country without the worry of having to reapply.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:50 AM   #4
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VA Health care

I have been fulltiming since 2005 and use the VA as my health care provider.
I am 100% unemployable and service connected. I am also retired, so I can use Military Hosp.
I have been seen in OR. & TX. but have not had any emergancies so can't speak for transport. But the level of care verries by state.
I say go for it and start saving for the unexpected.

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Old 12-11-2007, 11:37 AM   #5
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For what it's worth, and your travel schedule, Tucson has an excellent VA hospital...many docs do double duty for both the VA and Unviversity Medical Center, the UA teaching hospital.
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:56 AM   #6
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Dale, You hurry and sign up, the next president might take that away so you have to get your care at one hospital.

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Old 12-11-2007, 03:59 PM   #7
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Rick,
Good to hear from you.
Not all vets get Med. privalige.
Mine was taken back by the government in 2003. They simply forgot to inform me that I needed to have a record with them prior to that date. I think this is special for Vietnam Era Vets who didn't put there boots in country. I was in from 66-69 and spent all of that time overseas. So again not all vets. I applied even though I have an injury from when I was in. Unless they can unburn the Army records that were burned I get nothing. So again not all vets.
As a note I've been turned down twice in 9 months because I was in during the wrong years.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnyusmc
I have been fulltiming since 2005 and use the VA as my health care provider.
I am 100% unemployable and service connected. I am also retired, so I can use Military Hosp.
I have been seen in OR. & TX. but have not had any emergancies so can't speak for transport. But the level of care verries by state.
I say go for it and start saving for the unexpected.

Gunny
Gunny,
First, thank you for your service. You noted that you are retired. Are you retired from the Marines? I am retired USAF and have Tricare For Live which requires that I elect Medicare Part B. TFL is free and is my supplemental for Medicare purposes. If you are retired from the military, check it out.

As for using VA instead of paying for Part B. I would pay the Part B. Many HMO's will accept Part B users and not charge more than the Part B payment. That doesn't mean you have to forego VA, but it does allow you the peace of mind that you are covered no matter where you go. I see words like 'reimbursement' in the verbage the VA uses when talking about out of VA service. That is scary since it would mean that you pay for the service and get reimbursed. Depending on the medical problem, we could be talking about tens of thousands of dollars. Like any insurance, it is expensive until you need, then it is a real bargin.

Vic
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:12 PM   #9
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questions about the Va

I lost where I found you Minnesota but here is an answer,
My hubby got sick and we were in Idaho I called the Va toll free phone # and they said. It was an emergency so take him to the local hospital and then have the hospital call the Va. I did and we did not have to pay the Va took care of it. It is called the millennium bill ask your local Va about it. But he has never had a problem when we travel getting medical attion. Hope this helps.
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