Healthcare Fact Sheet #1
healthcare enrollment? It's a new system providing access for veterans to a comprehensive
package of VA healthcare services. And, it's easy to use!
Just answer a few questions and you will be assigned by VA to one of the newly established priority groups. VA will then send a letter confirming your enrollment and assignment. That's it!
|VA will extend enrollment to every group for which resources are available. The enrollment process will begin October 1997 and will be repeated every year.|
VA encourages veterans in the above categories to also apply for enrollment so we can better plan for your healthcare needs.Starting in October 1997, all veterans may apply by contacting the nearest VA healthcare facility. If you have received VA healthcare services after October 1, 1996, you do not need to apply. In this case, VA will process an application on your behalf. When enrollment is confirmed, VA will notify you in writing. You can apply for enrollment anytime during the year. You will remain enrolled for one year. Your enrollment will be reviewed and renewed each year depending upon your priority group and available resources. If VA cannot renew your enrollment for another year you will be notified in writing 60 days before your enrollment expires.
Healthcare Fact Sheet #1
VA encourages veterans in the above categories to also apply for enrollment so we can better plan for your healthcare needs.
|Starting in October 1997, all veterans may apply by contacting the nearest VA healthcare facility. If you have received VA healthcare services after October 1, 1996, you do not need to apply. In this case, VA will process an application on your behalf. When enrollment is confirmed, VA will notify you in writing. You can apply for enrollment anytime during the year.|
|You will remain enrolled for one year. Your enrollment will be reviewed and renewed each year depending upon your priority group and available resources. If VA cannot renew your enrollment for another year you will be notified in writing 60 days before your enrollment expires.|
The Enrollment Process
The VA's Health Administration Service director, Kent Simonis, points out that veterans "intending" to seek care from the VA as their primary provider are encouraged to apply for enrollment. The 11th ACVVC is urging all veterans to apply even if they presently are not seeking VA care so that they have a place-marker in the system for future access.
So far, the federal organization has
publicized this "test year" mainly by communicating with the various veterans'
service organizations (VSOs), such ast he 11th ACVVC which have been alerting and
assisting their members with the process. According to Kizer, the VA will be marketing the
enrollment process more aggressively this year and is looking forward. to a.
significant response from veterans during the test period. For those currently receiving
care from the VA, the organization's officials emphasize that it will continue to treat
veterans during the test year -- as resources allow -whether or not they apply for
The newly collected data will be analyzed by the agency to document current demand, track trends, and predict future usage for planning and budgetary purposes. Additionally, the data will give the Veteran's Health Administration a means of keeping expenditures within appropriations levels by limiting enrollment or re-enrollment within lower priority groups or subgroups on a year-to-year basis.
Here's what's happening during the test year. The VA began automatic processing of enrollment applications on behalf of veterans who have received care since Sept. 30, 1996. If you fit into this category, you need take no action to get enrolled. However, you should check to be sure that you agree with your priority group ranking and preferred location for care when you receive your confirmation letter.
If you haven't received VA care since Sept. 30, 1996, there are two basic application pathways. You may file a "stand-alone" application, either in person at any VA medical facility or regional office or by mail. You also can file your enrollment application when you present yourself for care at a VA facility. For those with Internet access who want to go straight to the VA for information, access the VA Health Care Enrollment Fact Sheet ( www.va.gov/ health/elig ).
The Benefits of Enrollment
Although the law states that veterans must be enrolled by Oct. 1, 1998, to receive care (see table, facing page, for exceptions), this will NOT be your last chance to apply for enrollment. Both stand-alone and intake applications will continue to be accepted for enrollment as long as your priority group is not under restriction at the time.
By the way, many 11th ACVVC members have incomes higher than the statutory-means threshold. If that's your situation, and you've never bothered to seek a rating for a potential SC condition, now would be the perfect time to do it. Even a compensable 0 percent rating would move you from priority group 7 to group 6.
Here are a number of potential benefits to taking the plunge:
During this test year, the VA is taking applications for all priority groups while providing care as it has in the past. "The higher priority folks are going to get taken care of in any case," Kizer explains. "For veterans in the lower priority groups ..., if [they're] enrolled, then we're committed to provide necessary care for a year.
After decades of stagnation, the VA health care system is well and truly on the move. Its stated goal is both worthy and essential to its future: to provide care more effectively and efficiently within the challenging fiscal constraints facing government and health care in general today. During the first of what may be many shakedown cruises, veterans and their advocates would be well-advised to get involved, communicate with each other and the VA, and stay vigilant.
Stump's vow rings as true today as it did in 1996, when the Veterans Health Care Eligibility Reform Act was reported out of committee. "This bill is just one step on the path to comprehensive reform," he said, "and I have given veterans my word that even if [it] is signed into law, our work is not done
For more information contact your nearest VA healthcare facility
Last Update 03/30/98