VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
Gathered by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, DAV, VFW Dept. of Oklahoma, PRO/Editor
VA has implemented the second phase of a series of enhancements to the Veterans Choice Program. As part of these enhancements, eligibility for the program has been expanded.
On October 1, 2015, VA removed the enrollment date requirement so that any Veteran enrolled in VA health care could be eligible for the program if he/she met one of the specific eligibility criteria. Effective immediately, two additional expansions have been made:
- Veterans’ specific health care needs, including the nature and frequency of the care needed, will be taken into consideration when determining eligibility. For example, routine and simple procedures, such as simple tests or treatments like an allergy test or an immunization, may be sought through the Veterans Choice Program. Similarly, if a Veteran needs repeated appointments for a course of treatment, such as chemotherapy, the frequency of travel could become an excessive burden on the Veteran. This burden may be alleviated by use of the Veterans Choice Program. These examples of potential expanded eligibility fall under the “unusual or excessive burden” eligibility criterion. Staff at the Veteran’s local VA medical facility will work with him/her to determine if he/she is eligible for any of these reasons.
- Veterans who live more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest VA medical facility with a full-time primary care physician are now eligible for the program.
To verify eligibility, Veterans must call the Choice Program call center at: 866-606-8198
My spouse, Melba, is currently using the VA Choice Program with her knee challenge at the Alliance Health Hospital in Durant, OK and will be at her mother’s house recovering. So this Veterans Choice Program is working. After she comes home to the ranch we live on, I will get her to describe what she had to do to get the service arranged.
I went to the Cancer Center of America (noting that Tulsa has one of these hospitals there and we get advertisements on the local Television channels about it) website and had one of their benefits representatives chat with me (after I told them who I was). It seems Cancer Center of America does not accept any Federal funded insurance programs as they are a private hospital. This means they do not accept Medicare/Medicaid, Tri-Care (of any type), VA choice program or VA reimbursements.
I was asked an interesting question regarding who, if the spouse of a veteran is not there, receives the folded flag from the casket of the veteran? The answer:
The VA authorizes only one flag and the order of precedence is:
Surviving spouse, children according to age, parents (including adoptive, stepparents, and foster parents), brothers or sisters (including brothers or sisters of half-blood), uncles or aunts, nephews or nieces, and others such as cousins or grandparents.
When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making a request for it. If there is no living relative or one cannot be located, and no friend requests the flag, it must be returned to the nearest VA facility. The VA is not able to provide replacement burial flags even for lost or damaged flags.
In the case of in-service deaths (active duty), the Defense Department provides a U.S. flag to drape the casket or to be presented at a memorial service. After the service, the flag is given to the next of kin.
FARM LOANS: VA HOME LOANS FOR RURAL RESIDENTS
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Home Loan benefit may be used to purchase a farm on which there is a farm residence to be owned and occupied by a Veteran as his or her primary residence. Although the VA Home Loan benefit cannot be used for business loans, including for farming, Veterans can use the benefit to purchase a farm on which there is a residence.
Loans for farm dwellings are appraised the same way as for homes in urban areas.
? VA does not set limits on the number of acres a VA-guaranteed property may have.
? The appraisal of properties with acreage should not present difficulties if a sufficient number of similar properties in the area were recently sold primarily for residential use, and may include improvements not typically considered residential (i.e. barns, sheds, corrals, stables, pastures).
? For VA purposes, the valuation must not include livestock, crops, or farm equipment and supplies. In any case, individual improvements not typically considered residential (i.e. barns, sheds, corrals, stables, pastures) will be valued at their fair market value.
Underwriting guidelines are generally the same as for non-farm type dwellings.
? For example, if some or all of the income necessary to support the loan payments comes from farming operations, a Veteran’s ability and experience as a farm operator must be established.
? The procedures and analysis provided in Chapter 4 of VA Pamphlet 26-7, Lenders Handbook, under “Self-Employment Income” generally apply.
For more information, contact a VA Regional Loan Center by calling toll-free (877) 827-3702 or go visit your local USDA Offices.
Congress is promising to launch a sweeping reform of the military health system next year, but lawmakers still made a few near-term tweaks to military medical policy in the 2016 Defense Authorization Act signed by President Obama just before Thanksgiving.
Under the new law, Tricare beneficiaries who fill their prescriptions at retail pharmacies or order brand-name medications through the mail system will see their co-pays rise in the coming weeks.
A 30-day prescription for generic drugs from a network pharmacy will rise to $10, a $2 bump, while a brand-name prescription will rise to $24, up from $20.
A 90-day prescription for a brand-name medication by mail will cost $20, up from $16, and medications not on Tricare’s formulary will increase to $49, up from $46.
Generics will still be available at no cost through mail, as will all prescriptions filled at military pharmacies.
Calling all VFW and American Legion Members in Push Co, the CofC of Push Co has invited us to be in the Christmas Parade Dec 12 starting at 5:00 pm. Meet at the VFW in Antlers at 3:30 PM on Dec 12 for further information.