The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Changing the Rules: Let us know what you think

Last week, the veterans' community received word of a proposal to bill veterans' private insurance companies for health care related to service-connected conditions. AMVETS vehemently opposes this idea. We understand that the costs of health care keep skyrocketing, but that does not preclude the VA from fulfilling its obligations to our veterans.

Service-connected conditions are quite different from the kinds of health care conditions many Americans cope with. Service-connected conditions are injuries and maladies that the VA has acknowledged have a direct link to our time in the military; a time when we each forfeit certain rights and priviledges to defend our fellow countrymen and our way of life. In return for agreeing to go wherever we are asked to go, and do whatever we are asked to do, our government has made a promise to take care of us, should something happen in the line of duty. Now the government wants to pass this burden onto our private insurance companies.

I understand if the VA wants to treat normal patient triage as any private hospital would by billing third-party insurers for routine visits, but it is the VA's obligation to ensure that service-connected conditions are treated at no cost to the veteran.

Proponents of third-party billing may believe that this will simply help the VA save some much-needed cash in a turbulent economic time, since many veterans already enjoy adequate third-party coverage. However, this could create dire unintended consequences when insurance companies start to drop veterans from their plans. Under the current scenario, private insurance companies can look the other way when a veteran needs monthly counseling for PTSD or repairs to a prosthesis. But once the bills start rolling in for Blue Cross or United, somebody is going to have to reassess the situation. Veterans will become a greater liability.

The new Administration has proposed a much-needed increase in funding for the VA in FY2010. Unfortunately, third-party billing for service-connected conditions may be a part of their equation. This would be a tremendous disservice to our veterans, and I hope that the White House and Congress will not seriously consider this move. AMVETS is waiting anxiously to see the President's full budget proposal in early April. In the meantime, let us know what you think about the third-party billing proposal by posting your comments below.




  1. I have some very strong feelings/opinions as it relates to third party billing by the VA for war veterans with service connected injuries/maladies.  I can tell you, as sure as I am sitting here, that the private mental health care benefits will not cover unlimited
    visits for PTSD or any other diagnosis for that matter...most "benefits" limit the number of visits allowed...also as it relates to prosthetics there most often are limitations for repair/replacement and therapies. Is the intent for the VA not to cover services if the private health care insurance does not reimburse?  I think this is a great disservice to our servicemen/women and that we, as a country, should be doing "everything" we can to thank them for their service and our freedom...That means taking care of them, whether it be medically or otherwise, we should not find them unable to access services/care, we should not find them
    hungry or homeless, we should not find them unable to find employment.  As a country we have made our elderly population that our intent for our veterans too? What are we doing?  What are we thinking, what are we coming to????? Just my thoughts.

  2. This is typical of what we should expect. There is plenty of money to go around and help everyone from illegal immigrants to foreign countries, but no money for the US citizen who writes a blank check to the US government to cover everything and anything including their lives. It's time we check our values. G66-70.