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Old 06-17-2009, 07:01 AM
 
15,616 posts, read 9,158,729 times
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The OPs situation seems to be more about discrepancies between healthcare options for 100% disabled veterans vs active duty soldiers than it is about healthcare options for soldiers/vets vs families. In my opinion, 100% disabled veterans should have equivalent quality healthcare as their active duty counterparts do. It is a failing when they don't.

The following is intended to add some clarity to the premise for the original question (with Army as example)...

Reservists - Can opt/buy in to TriCare for themselves and/or their dependents. Soldier & Family have the exact same level of care that works similar to most HMOs. There are different levels of service and some require premiums, co-payments, deductibles, etc. Some treatments/procedures are covered, others are not.

Active Duty - Service Member has fully paid, comprehensive health care coverage through any military medical installation. Military medical facilities are not Veteran's Hospitals - big difference. Families have same TriCare as described above: some payments required depending on options/services used - some services covered, others not.

non-retired Veterans separated from active duty (or Reservists who have completed deployment but may or may not still be serving in reserve capacity) - Veterans of other wars have different arrangements but OIF/OEF Veterans get 5 years fully paid, comprehensive health care coverage through any VA. Again - VAs are different from Military medical facilities mentioned above. After 5 years, the Veteran can continue to use the VA but will have to meet a needs standard in order for it to be free. Otherwise, they'll need private insurance or to make co-payments to the VA. If the Veteran is separated from the Army but not retired, the Family has extremely limited options for health care through the VA and none with TriCare.

Retired AD Veterans (and Reservists over age 65) - Same as above but they can also opt/buy into TriCare for themselves & their Families.

Disabled Veterans - Any service related disabilities are covered for free for life at the VA. Families of 100% disabled veterans or of service members who were killed in action are eligible for VA and/or TriCare.

VA vs TriCare - like any health insurance, there are pros and cons to either. It really comes down to what your specific needs end up being, as to which will serve you better - and that's nearly impossible to predict. For example, a benefit of the VA over TriCare is that there is no fee and no limit to certain services that are covered. So, if you need PT or psychological counselling (just 2 examples of many), you can get treatment as often and for as long as recommended at the VA for free. TriCare, however, imposes limits, and you'd owe co-pays and then full payments after you reached the maximum number of treatments allowed.

Lastly, I fully agree with Crew Chief's first comments about the "contract between the service member and the military." I take some exception to Elamigo's spin on those comments, though. Here's how: it's my belief that the Army's focus on the Soldier, and the benefits provided to Soldiers and their families, are no different than it would be for any other major employer in this country. Their primary mission is THEIR bottom line - company/Army first. THEN, it's their employees - how to attract and keep employees who will contribute to the company bottom line. Part of that is offering a competitive and comprehensive benefits package that includes health care options for their employees' families. It's just part of the cost of doing business.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:18 AM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
3,302 posts, read 3,755,085 times
Reputation: 2524
Quote:
Originally Posted by toosie View Post
The OPs situation seems to be more about discrepancies between healthcare options for 100% disabled veterans vs active duty soldiers than it is about healthcare options for soldiers/vets vs families. In my opinion, 100% disabled veterans should have equivalent quality healthcare as their active duty counterparts do. It is a failing when they don't.

The following is intended to add some clarity to the premise for the original question (with Army as example)...

Reservists - Can opt/buy in to TriCare for themselves and/or their dependents. Soldier & Family have the exact same level of care that works similar to most HMOs. There are different levels of service and some require premiums, co-payments, deductibles, etc. Some treatments/procedures are covered, others are not.

Active Duty - Service Member has fully paid, comprehensive health care coverage through any military medical installation. Military medical facilities are not Veteran's Hospitals - big difference. Families have same TriCare as described above: some payments required depending on options/services used - some services covered, others not.

non-retired Veterans separated from active duty (or Reservists who have completed deployment but may or may not still be serving in reserve capacity) - Veterans of other wars have different arrangements but OIF/OEF Veterans get 5 years fully paid, comprehensive health care coverage through any VA. Again - VAs are different from Military medical facilities mentioned above. After 5 years, the Veteran can continue to use the VA but will have to meet a needs standard in order for it to be free. Otherwise, they'll need private insurance or to make co-payments to the VA. If the Veteran is separated from the Army but not retired, the Family has extremely limited options for health care through the VA and none with TriCare.

Retired AD Veterans (and Reservists over age 65) - Same as above but they can also opt/buy into TriCare for themselves & their Families.

Disabled Veterans - Any service related disabilities are covered for free for life at the VA. Families of 100% disabled veterans or of service members who were killed in action are eligible for VA and/or TriCare.

VA vs TriCare - like any health insurance, there are pros and cons to either. It really comes down to what your specific needs end up being, as to which will serve you better - and that's nearly impossible to predict. For example, a benefit of the VA over TriCare is that there is no fee and no limit to certain services that are covered. So, if you need PT or psychological counselling (just 2 examples of many), you can get treatment as often and for as long as recommended at the VA for free. TriCare, however, imposes limits, and you'd owe co-pays and then full payments after you reached the maximum number of treatments allowed.

Lastly, I fully agree with Crew Chief's first comments about the "contract between the service member and the military." I take some exception to Elamigo's spin on those comments, though. Here's how: it's my belief that the Army's focus on the Soldier, and the benefits provided to Soldiers and their families, are no different than it would be for any other major employer in this country. Their primary mission is THEIR bottom line - company/Army first. THEN, it's their employees - how to attract and keep employees who will contribute to the company bottom line. Part of that is offering a competitive and comprehensive benefits package that includes health care options for their employees' families. It's just part of the cost of doing business.
Spin? I do not know what you are talking about. Please explain what part gave you that perception. What you wrote afterwards I believe said the same I wrote. Maybe I was not clear on my point.

Did I not mention somewhere the Army has so programs for families so the Soldiers have peace of mind or something along those lines. It is the same princople about the "bottom line" as you said.

I have no idea what you are refering to as "spin".

You have a great day.
El Amigo
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:20 AM
 
1,492 posts, read 6,776,213 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toosie View Post
Disabled Veterans - Any service related disabilities are covered for free for life at the VA. Families of 100% disabled veterans or of service members who were killed in action are eligible for VA and/or TriCare.
True, except for the fact that 100% service connected veterans can receive ALL healthcare from the VA. There is no limitation. So a 100% disabled vet can go for the flu even if the disability is a lost leg. Other veterans can receive all their healthcare from the VA on a fee basis (some qualify for free due to income).

Families of 100% service connected veterans do not receive Tricare. They receive a lesser ChampVA. It's like ChampUS except it's the VA. And it does not include many things that ChampUS covers.

There is no dental....at all.
But because my children were healthy, dental has been the only issue with ChampVA.
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Old 06-18-2009, 12:35 PM
 
15,616 posts, read 9,158,729 times
Reputation: 67792
Quote:
Originally Posted by elamigo View Post
Spin? I do not know what you are talking about. Please explain what part gave you that perception. What you wrote afterwards I believe said the same I wrote. Maybe I was not clear on my point.

Did I not mention somewhere the Army has so programs for families so the Soldiers have peace of mind or something along those lines. It is the same princople about the "bottom line" as you said.

I have no idea what you are refering to as "spin".

You have a great day.
El Amigo
"Spin" probably is a more loaded word than I should have used there. We do make similar points but, you said...
Quote:
Originally Posted by elamigo View Post
the primary mission of the services is the Soldiers above family members, retired personnel, etc.
One of the Army slogans is "Mission First", and my point is that many families and even Soldiers have trouble really believing it. The Army is about the Army - first, foremost, always. The Army isn't about individuals, Soldiers, Families - it's about the collective mission. So you see, I disagree that the primary mission of the services is the soldiers - I believe the primary mission is the mission.

You also said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by elamigo View Post
Some people do not realize that a lot of programs for the families are primarily to make sure the Soldier has the peace of mind that his family is taken cared of so he can do his duty without any worries for his family back home. The point is to make sure that the Soldier is at all his pistons doing the mission without any type of obstacles.
I agree with you if we're talking about programs like Family Readiness Group, Army Family Team Building, Ombudsmen services, etc. However, I don't put health care benefits in the same category. To me, health care benefits that extend to the family are not about a soldier's peace of mind in order to help him focus on his job. IMO, providing health care benefits is about offering the same level of benefits as any other major corporation offers it's employees.

Sorry if I irked you by saying "spin" - I agree it wasn't the best choice of words. Also, to you and the other service men and women on this thread - thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasGrace View Post
True, except for the fact that 100% service connected veterans can receive ALL healthcare from the VA. There is no limitation. So a 100% disabled vet can go for the flu even if the disability is a lost leg. Other veterans can receive all their healthcare from the VA on a fee basis (some qualify for free due to income).

Families of 100% service connected veterans do not receive Tricare. They receive a lesser ChampVA. It's like ChampUS except it's the VA. And it does not include many things that ChampUS covers.

There is no dental....at all.
But because my children were healthy, dental has been the only issue with ChampVA.
You're right - thanks for clarifying!
BTW, what is the status of your current health care dilemma with the VA? You said you're considering going to Mexico for treatment. Are there no other options closer to home? Is there an appeals process or different coding they can do at the VA in order to push your treatment through?
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Old 06-18-2009, 12:50 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
3,302 posts, read 3,755,085 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toosie View Post
"Spin" probably is a more loaded word than I should have used there. We do make similar points but, you said...

One of the Army slogans is "Mission First", and my point is that many families and even Soldiers have trouble really believing it. The Army is about the Army - first, foremost, always. The Army isn't about individuals, Soldiers, Families - it's about the collective mission. So you see, I disagree that the primary mission of the services is the soldiers - I believe the primary mission is the mission.

You also said:

I agree with you if we're talking about programs like Family Readiness Group, Army Family Team Building, Ombudsmen services, etc. However, I don't put health care benefits in the same category. To me, health care benefits that extend to the family are not about a soldier's peace of mind in order to help him focus on his job. IMO, providing health care benefits is about offering the same level of benefits as any other major corporation offers it's employees.

Sorry if I irked you by saying "spin" - I agree it wasn't the best choice of words. Also, to you and the other service men and women on this thread - thank you!


You're right - thanks for clarifying!
BTW, what is the status of your current health care dilemma with the VA? You said you're considering going to Mexico for treatment. Are there no other options closer to home? Is there an appeals process or different coding they can do at the VA in order to push your treatment through?
Thanks for the reply. It did not irk me. I was actually confused. I went back to my message so I was wondering if I was clear on my statement. Partly has to do that English is my second language so I do try to write it as clearly as possible. I am sure you can still see my 'Spanlish' touch on it. I suppose that will never disappear.

Oh! you comment about health care. I agree. If I recall correctly when the individual enlists health care for him and his family is part of the contract. Those other things you mention are programs with the intent I mentioned before. You are right, the Mission first the Soldier second. Many of those programs intent are to make sure the Soldiers is as ready to perform the Mission so the Mission is the primary reason for just about everything done for the Soldier and that means his family.
I have seen angry family members expecting they are first than the mission. Sometime they have a surprise when we explain that is not the case and it is necessary to simply wait their turn on some issue due to mission constraints. That's just the wait it is.

You have a great day.
El Amigo

Last edited by elamigo; 06-18-2009 at 01:02 PM..
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Hawaii/Alabama
1,595 posts, read 2,968,048 times
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I was a Soldier and became disabled, I was also married to a Soldier so I was a dependent, now my hubby has Retried so I am on TriCare For Life. I COULD opt for the VA but Tripler here in Hawaii has been wonderful to me as a disabled soldier, a dependant and an Retiree dependent.

While there are apathetic centers/clinics/personnel as Elamigo stated you have to know how to demand decent care! Why do people NOT go to patient admin or to the SMAJ of the facility? If you meekly accept that something cannot be done and do not challenge it then YOU are not doing all you can to ensure your own health care!
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:22 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
3,302 posts, read 3,755,085 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melaniej65 View Post
I was a Soldier and became disabled, I was also married to a Soldier so I was a dependent, now my hubby has Retried so I am on TriCare For Life. I COULD opt for the VA but Tripler here in Hawaii has been wonderful to me as a disabled soldier, a dependant and an Retiree dependent.

While there are apathetic centers/clinics/personnel as Elamigo stated you have to know how to demand decent care! Why do people NOT go to patient admin or to the SMAJ of the facility? If you meekly accept that something cannot be done and do not challenge it then YOU are not doing all you can to ensure your own health care!
That is right! That is the key point. People need to stand up for what their benefits they are entitled to. Granted that the system may not cover every single thing or at times it takes longer due to staff understrenght, low funding, etc. but pretty much the system is suppose to include everything, specially if it is related to a documented and approved military related disability.

You have a great day.
El Amigo
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:26 PM
 
1,492 posts, read 6,776,213 times
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Senator Richard Burr has written me about the issues I've contacted him with. I wrote a 2 page letter (wanted it to be short but...) listing 4 of the issues w/ VAMC not providing care.

I gave examples of misdiagnosis and the vet had to pay for a doc but couldn't afford the medicine so went back to the VA demanding prescription for pneumonia (yes, it was pneumonia as the so called doc diagnosed it as post-nasal drip just hours earlier)

When the VA wanted to treat symptoms of disease instead of curing the disease.

When, now, when the vet moves from one VISN to another and some doc doesn't want to do the work....that's me. I'm looking at Mexico because even though it's 2 trips....airline tickets and the Mexican peso being weaker than the US dollar- is still half of what docs charge around here.

I've requested assistance in compelling the local VAMC to continue the treatment I was receiving out west before I moved here....simply to complete the treatment plan.

I'll keep you posted!

(my 2 oldest are in the military now and I've thought about asking to become a dependent so I can get Tricare.....anyone ever do this as a parent to a child?)
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Hawaii/Alabama
1,595 posts, read 2,968,048 times
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It is not as easy as you think to become your child's dependent, you basically have to have no income/assets and have ZERO capability to care for yourself. Your child will claim you on their taxes therefore you lose whatever you may have coming to you- to include any financial stimulus checks.

Are you totally incapacitated with absolutely no family living near you? There is a lot involved and very few parents actually become the dependent.
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,722 posts, read 47,483,706 times
Reputation: 17569
Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasGrace
... (my 2 oldest are in the military now and I've thought about asking to become a dependent so I can get Tricare ..... anyone ever do this as a parent to a child?)
I have seen dependant parents, though I am not sure if it was due to health care, or not.

If you did that route, you would get far better care if you made a trip to a US military base in Europe.
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