For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

See also: In The Military

VA won’t pay for
private nursing homes

Question: If a veteran wants to go to a private nursing home, will Department of Veterans Affairs pay for it, and if not, will health insurance cover extended care co-payments?

Answer: In most cases the VA will not pay for a private nursing home. VA can pay for care only in nursing homes that participate in its contract program. About 10 percent of the country's nursing homes have VA contracts.

In addition, most veterans are not eligible for direct placement in private nursing homes.

As for health insurance, some insurance companies provide coverage for long-term care or skilled nursing home care services.

If an insurance company covers these services, VA will bill the health insurance carrier. If a veteran has health insurance coverage, it is important to provide that insurance information to VA. Veterans should always bring insurance cards when coming to VA for health care.

Reimbursements received from insurance carriers can be used to offset co-payment debt. In some instances, co-payment debt may be partially covered, and in other instances, totally covered by the insurance reimbursement.

When the insurance carrier does not reimburse VA for the services provided, veterans are responsible for paying the co-payment. Eligibility for VA medical care is not affected by insurance coverage.

For further information concerning co-payments and health insurance, contact the Honolulu VA at 433-0600.

Q: How do I apply for the low-income exemption from VA prescription and doctor appointment co-payments?

A: To be considered for the low-income exemption, you must agree to provide income information to the VA. The VA compares your income to the limit set by law every year.

If your income level is below this limit, you are exempt from the medication co-payment. If your income level is higher than this limit, you are not exempt.

Additionally, certain veterans with short-term financial hardships may be eligible for a waiver of the co-payment.

To obtain information regarding a waiver, or how to apply for a low-income exemption, call the VA at 433-0600.

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
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

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