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VA Health Care Benefits Package


Veterans of World War II dominate the landscape of our parents' generation. Consider these facts:

  • Of the 16,535,000 soldiers who fought in World War II, six million are alive today.
  • There are over 3,000 living veterans from World War I.
  • Nearly three million Presidential Memorial Certificates have been given to surviving family members in honor of their loved ones' military service since JFK began the tradition in 1962.
  • The National Cemetery Administration maintains more than 2.3 million gravesites throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

The VA now offers a uniform benefits package. This is a standard health benefits plan that is generally available to all enrolled veterans regardless of priority group. This does not mean that it's free if you have a moderate income. The care is provided on an “as needed” basis that is determined by the VA system. Needed care is defined as “care or services that will promote, preserve, and restore health.”

Veterans accepted for enrollment in the VA health care system are eligible to receive necessary inpatient and outpatient services, including preventive and primary care. According to Veterans Affairs, these include …

  • Diagnostic and treatment services.
  • Rehabilitation.
  • Mental health care and substance abuse.
  • Respite and hospice care.
  • Prescriptions as part of VA treatment.
  • Emergency care in VA facilities.
  • Hospital (medical and surgical) and outpatient care.
  • Prosthetics and orthotics.

Prescriptions are covered when veterans receive their treatment from a VA medical facility. Most of the time, the veteran will be asked to pay a $2 co-payment. Generally, hearing aids and eyeglasses are not covered when the hearing and vision loss is due to aging.

Long-Term Care Services

The VA system does offer a wide range of services to meet your dad's long-term care needs through 1,000 locations of care throughout the country. Here's a brief description of what the VA provides directly:

VA Long-Term Care Services Description

Nursing home VA nursing homes are hospital-based, providing nursing, medical, rehab, psychosocial, and pharmaceutical care; the VA runs 131 nursing homes.
Home-based primary care The VA provides primary care in the home to severely disabled, chronically ill vets; the VA provides medicines, equipment, supplies, and home improvements to accommodate living at home.
Adult day health care This is a therapeutic outpatient day program for frail elderly vets, providing health maintenance and rehab; there are fewer than 20 such programs.
Respite care Caregiving relatives can place a chronically ill and disabled vet in a VA hospital or nursing home for a brief period of time.
Domiciliary care This is a residential rehab and health maintenance center for veterans who don't require hospital or nursing home care but are unable to live alone because of physical or psychiatric disabilities.

More on: Aging Parents


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Caring for Aging Parents © 2001 by Linda Colvin Rhodes, Ed.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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