Insurance

Benjamin KrauseThe Department of Veterans Affairs now pays for health insurance for certain veterans but the majority of eligible veterans have no idea.

When asked, two-thirds of veterans who are eligible for coverage within Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment had no idea. A survey I ran yesterday showed 67 percent of veterans who answered were totally unaware of the option.

One veteran even wrote in that he asked about it but his counselor flatly told him no, “My schools requires it, but was told it won’t be covered since I can get care at the VA. I’m 35-40 miles from the nearest hospital (also a large city and major traffic).”

So how can it be that insurance coverage is held secret?

SOME VOC REHAB BACKGROUND

Since 2012, Voc Rehab has started paying insurance premiums for certain veterans in the rehabilitation program. Veteran attending universities that require health insurance for all students are entitled to payment of that private health insurance while in the program.

The policy shift came following a meeting I had with former Director Ruth Fanning where she agreed it was the right thing to do. She agreed to include required insurance a cost of attendance to help veteran avoid committing forced fraud and to do the right thing.

Previous to this point, Voc Rehab told veterans to implicitly commit fraud without us realizing what we were doing.

You see, many universities require students to purchase insurance while attending. This was a “cost of attendance” for all students. Most universities that required health insurance would waive that requirement for all students who had health insurance from a third party.

UNIVERSITY INSURANCE IS GOOD

And the policy made sense.

Being unable to pay for emergency or unplanned health care in the middle of a semester would negatively impact one’s ability to study and do well. Those pinched without health insurance would tend to get greatly stressed with negative impacts on credit scores.

VOC REHAB FRAUD

Here is the fraud that VA forced and encouraged unsuspecting and vulnerable disabled adults to engage in on a regular basis.

To evade required costs of attendance, Voc Rehab told veterans to implicitly commit fraud. Most of us, including me, did not realize how this fraud was played out and it took my second year of law school for me to figure it out.

Voc Rehab officials told veterans to tell universities that VA health care at the local VA medical center was the same as health insurance. Those counselors told us to sign a waiver that we had “insurance” and to write our Social Security Numbers (SSN) where the waiver required applicants to write their insurance number.

DIRECTOR RUTH FANNING

Director Fanning had the stones to do the right thing on the spot once I called out the fraud in 2012 during a meeting in her office. Like on-campus parking, she reasoned health insurance should likewise be paid.

And like that, Voc Rehab extended veterans benefits an additional $30 million per year for all veterans entitled to Voc Rehab and potentially entitled to health insurance coverage.

RELATED: Voc Rehab Policy To Pay Insurance

The turnaround did not come without a little fight.

At the moment, I was working with Veterans For Common Sense (VCS). The nonprofit was actively engaged in a lawsuit against VA for screwing PTSD veterans in the 9th Circuit in California.

This meant they knew who the organization was and who I was as a result. Of course, this was not the first time I had a run in with them either.

In 2009, I helped CBS Evening News with Katie Couric investigate Voc Rehab. During that investigation, Voc Rehab rubber-stamped paying for my law school when CBS caught the program violating its policies while denying my benefits.

Win-win, right?

After the decision, Voc Rehab tried to retract the move by claiming its internal policies were already clear enough for counselors to know it was a legit change.

This was not true, though, and my own Voc Rehab office in St. Paul called out the policy change as not being legit. So, I called them out on my website by posting copies of the emails for any veteran to read and the public.

RELATED: Emails From Voc Rehab On Insurance

After the calling out, Voc Rehab did finally change the policy and included the change in its M28R policy manual.

Sadly, many veterans are still being misled by fraudulent policy claims by dimwitted counselors who claim the policy was not enshrined in its own manual. (search for “insurance” within the M28R manual PDF download)

DOWNLOAD: Voc Rehab M28R Manual

Idiots.

But that is life, we have to always be vigilant and assume the machine (Veterans Affairs) needs verification with every assertion its personnel tend to engage in.

Keep on those folks.

That is the story on health insurance. It seemed like a good idea to write about this since many veterans in the program are totally unaware that Voc Rehab needs to pay for health insurance when it is required by their university.

There is a double benefit to this move that VA may not want you to know.

By having insurance, you can access non-VA doctors who can help you document your disabilities from military service. It is a genius way to help push through the bureaucratic BS and actually get it done the right way.

Food for thought for those who do not realize outside health care is a good thing.

crazy elf
“Yes”, we have to be vigilant! “Yes”, we have to call out VA employees who “THINK they know it all!” The problem I’m seeing is VA employees; ie; directors, physicians, physicians assistants, nurses, councilors etc. etc. don’t believe anything, or want to believe anything, veterans say! Even when the vet brings in documents they snub us! They say and do whatever they want. Even if it’s breaking federal mandated laws! Thereby causing vets to have “high anxieties!” (There, I said… Read more »
namnibor
When I was attending additional University Studies I was my Student Gov’t. President for -3- yrs. and my on-campus Federal Work-Study Job was doing Student Advising within my College within the Arts & Sciences College. With this position as an older student and Veteran I saw the myriad od problems students that were Veterans had to traverse and it was a nightmare. 1) The Veteran Students were almost *always* having to deal with the inherent anxieties of whether the VA… Read more »
namnibor
I wanted to note that the decade of active duty USAF I was under something called “V.E.A.P.” (Veteran Educational Assistance Program), as it was one of the newer varieties of G.I. Bill post Vietnam. I could not USE VEAP because the fucking program would not recognize the Master’s Requirement nor even give and credence to the professional field of ‘Art Therapy’, while ‘Music Therapy’ often would be, with both requiring B.A. with a double Majorin Psych and Applied and Studio… Read more »
crazy elf
@namnibor That “…unfinished work, (recording) of JFK…” was, in my opinion, one of the main reasons he was assassinated. Although the article references it toward Trump. I believe that one could infer, since Trump is now leading in Indiana AND California handsomely, there needs to be a ‘shakeup’! Not only in our government agencies and civilian corporations, but also in the news medias. Until “TRUTHS” are being told, or become the norm, our country will remain on “life support!” Today,… Read more »
namnibor

Benjamin- Nice Bad VA Art today. Would that image imply “Insurance beneath the pigskin deep of the VA’s hide?” 🙂 (that’s what I gleaned from it)

FLB
Ben, After i found out that the VA OIG were investigating me. I began to collect SS and i went out to get private healthcare through United Health (private as in non-VA). Every visit to a private primary-care physician or specialist included a series of questions aimed specifically at my VA diagnosed and compensated ailments. Every medical appointment outside of the VA has been prompted by the VA and it’s contractors to assess my condition. Upon leaving i would always… Read more »
91Veteran

I would have to agree. In a smaller community, you might not find a doctor willing to contradict the VA, particularly if that doctor might be looking for an easy job at the VA at some point in the future.
Or a doctor that would like those Choice referrals and money to keep coming in.

Cantigny
my “spidy-sense” has picked up on this before, no doubt to it at all. some ppl I’ve met that do business with VA and also some private doctor’s offices I’ve been a patient at, i would toss HIPPA at them. though “spidy-sense” will not work in legal courts, one must have proof. but, only one way those ppl could have asked me the questions they did, in their nonchalant disarming manor trying to act like a friend, and that is… Read more »
Cantigny
somewhat off the “Insurance” topic but relative to this blog site ] PVA article, remove the spaces -> http :// bit . ly / 1SKhMU9 For those veterans here &/or care givers with spinal cord injury or disease, bills S.2883 and H.R.5091 appear in order. Though I write that keeping in mind my limited comprehension skills. These bills are being strongly supported by PVA to “…ensure that VA can be held accountable for its mandated responsibility to care for those… Read more »
shannon

My chap 31 counselor has always paid the University insurance. However, there are deductibles. AM i able to get a reimbursement for these deductibles and co-pays? If anyone knows please provide me the reg which states this to be the case….thank you.

crazy elf
The “BUBBLE” may occur again this year! I said in one of my comments today, what Obama might do IF Trump wins in November. If the “prime rate”, (or interest rates), climbs above a specific number. It burst in 2007 with a 8% rise. Then continued to rise to 11+ %! Due to the housing market. Which occured under what President – ? If you say, Bush, you’ld be wrong. It was all due to his predecessor – Bill (and… Read more »
Philip Edgar Beigbeder

I have always had free health care VA since 1973. They sent me to voc rehab
2013 but i am beyond that state with agent orange. I am waiting on unemployability claim due today may 4 2016…

WE WILL SEE TODAY

James

You are a God sent for veterans

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