Veterans' Corner: Affordable Care Act doesn't change veterans' insurance

Sept. 29, 2013 at 4:29 a.m.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care law, was created to expand access to affordable health care coverage to all Americans, lower costs and improve quality care coordination.

Under the health care law, people will have;

Health coverage that meets a minimum standard (called minimum essential coverage) by Jan. 1:

Qualify for exemption; or

Make a payment when filing their taxes if they have affordable options but remain uninsured.

In 2014, health insurance marketplaces will be a new way to find health coverage. On the marketplaces, some people may be eligible for lower costs on health premiums and out-of-pocket costs based on their income.

At a glance

The Department of Veterans Affairs wants all veterans to get health care coverage that improves their health and well-being.

If you are enrolled in VA health care, you don't need to take additional steps to meet the health law coverage standards.

The health care law does not change VA health benefits or veterans' out-of-pocket costs.

If you are not enrolled in VA health care, you can apply at any time.

If you are enrolled in the veterans' health care program, Civilian Health and Medical Program or Spina Bifida Health Care Program, you meet the requirements for coverage under the standards of the health care law.

Enrollment in VA health care means you have immediate health care coverage that is rated among the best in the U.S. There are no enrollment fees, monthly premiums or deductibles. Most veterans have no out-of-pocket costs. Some veterans may have to pay small co-payments for health care or prescription drugs. This means that your coverage goes with you if you travel or move.

We invite all veterans who have served and received an other than dishonorable discharge to come to visit us at our office. There are a lot of misconceptions of what VA benefits are and who is eligible to receive them and under what circumstances.

If you have any doubts about any part of your benefits, come and hear it from the horse's mouth and not from someone who might be misleading you.

To enroll in the VA health program, go to the VA Victoria Outpatient Clinic or visit the Disabled American Veterans Service Officers Office.

For more information, visit the Disabled American Veterans Service Officers Office, 120 S. Main St.

Office hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Call 361-578-0341, ext. 247.

Frank Torres is an officer for Victoria Disabled American Veterans Chapter 169 and offers military benefit information and advice for Victoria and surrounding counties.



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