Veterans News- VA health care

By Tammy Walters, Oneida County Veterans Service Officer

July 5, 2013 | 0 comments

The number one most common question we get asked is about VA health care.
VA health care is not insurance that can be used at non-VA facilities and a veteran cannot apply just to use the VA to fill prescriptions (the two most common misconceptions).
VA health care is actually going to a VA facility and being seen by a VA health care provider.

There is a community-based outreach clinic (CBOC) in Rhinelander and a VA medical center in Iron Mountain, Mich., that provide care to veterans in our area.
Effective Jan. 17, 2003, the VA limited access to VA health care. In other words, not all veterans are eligible.

There are some conditions that will automatically qualify you for health care, but if you do not meet any of those conditions, it is your household income that will determine whether or not you are eligible.

If you meet any one of the following conditions, you are automatically eligible for acceptance into the VA health care system: Purple Heart recipient, former prisoner of war, have a service-connected disability rating from the VA, served in combat after Nov. 11, 1998 (you would only be automatically eligible for five years after discharge), discharged from the military for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, receiving disability retirement pay instead of VA compensation, in need of care for conditions potentially related to service in southwest Asia during the Gulf War, exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam (this is presumed if you were in-country), exposed to radiation while in the military (must be able to prove), received nose and throat radium treatments while in the military or have a spinal cord injury.

If you do not meet at least one of those conditions, the VA will determine your eligibility based on your gross household income from the previous calendar year.
A single veteran must have an income below $38,280 and a veteran with one dependent must have an income below $43,280.

These income amounts are subject to change at any time.

The VA will adjust your income based on out-of-pocket medical expenses for you and your dependents.

These medical expenses include but are not limited to: Medicare and other health care insurance premiums, medication and doctor co-pays, dental and eyeglasses.
You apply for VA health care using a VA form 10-10EZ and my office can help you with the application process.

The application must be submitted with a copy of your discharge papers (DD 214 or equivalent).

It is recommended you use your previous calendar year tax returns when completing the income portion of the application because the VA will obtain it and compare it to your application. If the information does not match up, you can be removed from the health care system.

There is no monthly premium for VA health care, but there may be co-pays depending on whether or not you have a service-connected disability, your household income and your household net worth.

Medication co-pays are $8 or $9 per prescription for a 30-day supply; doctor co-pays are $15 for a primary care physician visit and $50 for a specialist. Again, these amounts are subject to change at any time.

For more information about VA health care or any veterans’ benefits, call the Oneida County Veterans’ Service Office at (715) 369-6127.

Tammy Walters can be reached at (715) 369-6127 or





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