Prescription drug co-pays to increase $1 on Jan. 1
What is the increase in VA prescription co-pays and when does this take effect?
Answer: Co-payments for outpatient medicines prescribed through VA medical facilities will rise $1 for a 30-day supply of prescription drugs on Jan. 1, the first change in four years. The increase to $8 from $7 for a 30-day supply of prescription drugs is required by federal law. Other veterans with fewer service-connected ailments -- those classified as priority groups 2 through 6 -- will see their prescription drug co-pays rise by $1, but their annual out-of-pocket expenses for VA medicines will remain capped. The new cap will rise to $960 a year, up $120 from the previous level. This means veterans in priority groups 2 through 6 will pay no more than $960 annually for VA outpatient medicine.
The $1 increase will not affect veterans who have an injury or illness connected with their military service resulting in a 50 percent or greater disability. Medications that are not subject to co-payments include: treatment of a service-connected disability; service-connected disability of 50 percent or more; a veteran disabled by 50 percent or more for unemployability; a veteran whose annual income does not exceed the amount of VA pensions; health problems that may be linked to Agent Orange for Vietnam veterans, to radiation exposure, to undiagnosed illnesses of Persian Gulf War veterans; or new veterans within two years of discharge after serving in a combat theater.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.
Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin, can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org