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VA reaches out to veterans about the health care law

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By. Daivd A. Anderson

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched an awareness campaign and a new website, www.va.gov/aca, to let veterans know what the Affordable Care Act means for them and their families. Veterans receiving healthcare from the Department of Veterans Affairs will see no change in their benefits or out-of-pocket costs when portions of the Affordable Care Act take effect next year.

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"VA wants all veterans to receive health care that improves their health and well-being," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "If you are enrolled in VA health care, you do not need to take any additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standards. If you are not enrolled in VA health care, you can apply at any time."

"VA encourages eligible Veterans who are not enrolled in VA's health care system to take advantage of the world-class care we provide to the men and women who have served this Nation in uniform," Shinseki added.

VA's health care system for veterans has no enrollment fee, no monthly premiums and no deductibles. Most veterans also have no out-of-pocket costs, though some may have small copayments for some health care or prescription drugs.

"VA will continue to provide veterans with high quality, comprehensive health care and other benefits they have earned through their service," said Dr. Robert Petzel, VA's chief physician and undersecretary for health.

The Affordable Care Act was created to expand access to coverage, reduce rising healthcare costs, and improve healthcare quality and care coordination. The Affordable Care Act creates new opportunities for coverage for uninsured veterans and their families.

There are more than 1.3 million veterans and more than 950,000 spouses and children of veterans without health insurance. Most uninsured veterans are eligible for VA health care. For those who are not eligible for VA care — such as veterans' family members — the law created a new Health Insurance Marketplace.

In 2014, the Marketplace will be a new way to shop for and purchase private health insurance. People who purchase insurance through the Marketplace may be able to lower the costs of health insurance coverage by paying lower monthly premiums. For more information, visit www.healthcare.gov.

For information about VA health care and the Affordable Care Act, VA encourages Veterans and family members to visit the new website at www.va.gov/aca, or call 1-877-222-VETS (8387), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. or Saturdays from 11a.m. to 3 p.m., Eastern time. The new website includes a Health Benefits Explorer, where veterans can learn about the benefits they can receive if they enroll in VA care.

Veterans can apply for VA health care at any time by visiting www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll, calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387), visiting their local VA health care facility, or seeing their local Veterans Service Officer.

As always please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us and as always have a great week.

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