Federal program helps veterans start small businesses
I read that the Small Business Administration has a new program for veterans considering starting their own business. Can you elaborate?
Answer: The program is called Patriot Express and offers a wide variety of assistance to veterans interested in setting up or expanding their own small business. Assistance for veterans ranges from help writing a business plan and managing a business, to obtaining financing and learning how to export goods.
Participants may also qualify for loans between 2.25 percent and 4.75 percent over the prime interest rate. Patriot Express is open to veterans, reservists and National Guard members, current spouses of eligible personnel, the surviving spouses of service members who die on active duty, or spouses of veterans who die from a service-connected disability.
For more information about the SBA program, contact the local Small Business Administration office here on Oahu or visit the Web site www.sba. gov/patriotexpress.
Q: Does the Department of Veteran Affairs bill private health insurance companies?
A: The VA is required to bill private health insurance providers for medical care and services, supplies and prescriptions provided for veterans' nonservice-connected conditions. Money collected in this way is used to maintain and improve VA's health-care system.
Generally, VA cannot bill Medicare for medical services provided to veterans; however, VA can bill Medicare supplemental health insurance for medical services covered by the supplemental insurance but not by Medicare.
All veterans applying for VA medical care are required to provide information on their health insurance coverage, including coverage provided under policies of their spouses. Veterans are not responsible for paying any remaining balance of VA's insurance claims that is not paid or covered by their health insurance, and any payment received by VA may be used to offset "dollar for dollar" a veteran's VA copayment responsibility.
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.