For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

See also: In The Military

Some vets will pay
enrollment fee of $250

Question: I read the Department of Veterans Affairs budget proposal for fiscal year 2004 includes an enrollment fee and co-payment changes. Can you provide details?

Answer: The proposed enrollment fee is $250 annually for nonservice-connected Priority 7 and all Priority 8 veterans, beginning Oct. 1, 2003. Veterans with higher incomes rely less on VA for their health care and usually have other health care options, including third-party insurance coverage and Medicare. Charging annual enrollment fees will support VA's efforts to provide timely, high quality health care to its core constituency: veterans with service-connected disabilities, those with lower incomes, and special populations of veterans.

The proposal to raise the co-payment for Priority 7 non-service-connected and enrolled Priority 8 veterans from the current $15 per outpatient visit charge to $20, beginning Oct. 1, 2003, would result in additional revenue of approximately $8 million a year.

Current, veterans whose annual incomes do not exceed the base pension rate, which for a single veteran is $9,690, are required to pay VA a co-payment for each 30 day or less supply of outpatient medication. A budget proposal to raise the threshold to the basic aid and attendance rate, which for a single veteran is $16,169, will allow more veterans to receive outpatient medications without being subject to medication co-payment.

The FY 2004 budget also proposes a raise in the medication co-payment for Priority 7 and 8 veterans from $7 to $15 for a 30-day supply of medication, beginning in October. This would result in additional revenue of approximately $65 million a year.

All the above are proposals that are included in the President's Fiscal Year 2004 budget. For information concerning VA co-payments, the Web site is or 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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