©2018 - Medina County Veteran Services

VA Choice Card (FAQ)

print

Frequently Asked Questions About Your Veterans Choice Card

 

 


Receiving Your Card

Q: What does VACAA stand for?

A: VACAA stands for the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, a law enacted by Congress and signed by President Obama in August to improve health care for Veterans.

Q: When will I receive my Choice Card?

A: Distribution of the Choice Card will begin on November 4, 2014 and continue through the end of January 2015. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will first send cards to those Veterans who may already meet the criteria for use of the card. Following that, all other Veterans enrolled for care with VA as of August 1, 2014 will receive a card. All cards should be received by mid-February 2015.

Q: I recently moved. How can I make sure I receive my Choice Card?

A: If VA currently mails you information that reaches your new address, you should receive your card at that address. If you do not receive mail from VA at your current address, you should notify us of your new address by calling 866-606-8198. When a Veteran wants to update their address we take down the new information, but then instruct the Veteran to contact the VA to inform VA of the address change.

If a Veteran needs an address change, they should contact VA directly.

Q: How did the Department of Veterans Affairs select which Veterans received their cards first?

A: VA mailed the cards first to Veterans who are likely eligible to use the card right away. In early November cards were mailed to Veterans living more than 40 miles from the closest VA medical facility. In mid-November cards will be mailed to Veterans who are on a VA waiting list for a health care appointment that could not be provided within 30 days of their preferred date, or a date that is medically determined by their physician. Veterans who may be eligible to use the card at some point in the future will receive their cards sometime between December 1, 2014 and February 2015.

Q: If I enrolled in the VA Health Care System after August 1, 2014 am I eligible to participate in this program?

A: If you were not enrolled for care with VA on August 1, 2014, then you only receive the Choice Card if you qualified for enrollment as a recently discharged combat Veteran within 5 years of separation. Otherwise, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, limited eligibility to those Veterans enrolled with VA as of August 1, 2014.

Q: How many Veterans will receive Choice Cards?

A: All Veterans who were enrolled with VA for health care as of August 1, 2014, as well as Veterans who qualify to enroll as a recently discharged combat Veteran within 5 years of separation will receive a Choice Card. VA estimates that approximately nine million Veterans meet these criteria and will receive a Choice Card.

Back to Top

Using Your Choice Card

Q: Does this Choice Card mean that I cannot receive care from my local VA medical facility?

A: No. The Choice Card is designed to supplement the care you receive at your VA medical facility, not replace or limit that care.

Use of the card is totally voluntary – a Choice. No Veteran will be required to seek care in the community using the card. In addition, any Veteran currently eligible for VA care will retain that eligibility even if he or she uses a Choice Card to obtain care in the community.

Q: What benefits does the Choice Card provide?

A: The Choice Card provides a safety net for Veterans who are on a VA waiting list because a health care appointment could not be provided to them within 30 days of their preferred date or the date that is medically determined by their physician or who live more than 40 miles from the closest VA medical facility. If you believe those circumstances apply to you, contact us at 866-606-8198 to verify that you are eligible to use the card. Once we determine eligibility, we will help you through the process of obtaining an appointment for care.

Q: How can I ensure I am eligible to use my Choice Card?

A: If you believe that you are eligible to use the Choice Card, you should contact us at 866-606-8198 to verify your eligibility to use the card. You may also reference the Quick Facts that were provided to you when you received your Choice Card.

Q: Can I just take my Choice Card to any doctor in my community and have them work with you?

A: No. You should not attempt to use the Choice Card before obtaining approval to use the benefits of the card. Once your eligibility is verified, we will work with you to find a provider within the community who accepts the terms and conditions of providing your care.

If you do not verify eligibility and receive an authorization prior to your appointment, you run a significant financial risk that the services you receive may not be eligible for reimbursement or that the doctor you select may not accept the card.

Q: How will I know if VA considers my home to be more than 40 miles away from the closest VA medical facility?

A: The letter you received with your card will indicate that your eligibility is based on VA's determination that you live more than 40 miles away from the closest VA medical facility.

Q: What if by one route it is fewer than 40 miles and by another it is more than 40 miles?

A: VA calculates the distance from your home to the nearest VA medical facility using the shortest available driving route. If there is a route that can take you to the nearest VA medical facility in under 40 miles, then your home would be determined to be fewer than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility.

Q: Does this program assist with transportation to medical facilities?

A: No, the program does not directly assist with transportation to medical facilities. You may be eligible for travel reimbursement under VA's travel reimbursement program. Please contact your local VA medical facility for questions concerning the travel reimbursement benefit.

Q: Can I utilize the Choice Card to see a primary care physician for a routine check-up?

A: You may be eligible to use the Choice Card for primary care services if you live 40 miles from the closest VA facility or if you tried to schedule a primary care appointment with VA and you were told you would have to wait more than 30 days for care. Please call us at 866-606-8198 to determine if you are eligible.

Q: Can I select my own medical provider or can I only use certain providers recommended by VA?

A: When you contact us to verify your eligibility, you will be given a list of contracted providers in your area to choose from. If there is no contracted provider in your area, you may identify a provider of choice, or we can identify a provider in the community that accepts the terms and conditions of providing your care. Please know, there is no guarantee that the provider you select will accept the Choice Card. We will make every effort to work with the provider. Ultimately, however, if the provider won’t accept the Choice Card, you may be responsible for all costs associated with your care.

Q: How do I schedule appointments through this program?

A: Just give us a call at 866-606-8198 and we will walk you through the process of making an appointment.

Q: How will I ensure my medical records are returned to the VA Health Care System?

A: We'll take care of that! If you've seen a provider that we identified for you from among those providers in the network or a provider who has agreed to accept the Choice Card, then that provider has also committed to returning the medical documentation related to your visit. We will reach out to the provider and ensure those records make it back to VA.

Q: I don't think I am currently eligible to use the Choice Card. How do I become eligible and who do I speak with to confirm my eligibility?

A: If you're not eligible today, you don't need to do anything. But, remember, you may be eligible in the future to use the Choice Card. So, keep your card in a safe and secure place.

Q: I prefer to use VA medical facilities for my health care. Will this card help me secure appointments at VA medical facilities where I have been waiting more than 30 days for care?

A: You can always choose to receive your care from VA directly. However, the Choice Card will not directly help you schedule an appointment with a shorter wait time through VA. It is intended to ensure that Veterans have a choice to seek care from community providers if they face lengthy waits for necessary care from VA facilities.

Q: If a community provider recommends I see a specialist, will that be covered by the card?

A: Not always. If you are eligible to use the Choice Card and you see a doctor who recommends that you see a different specialist for your care, the provider should notify TriWest of that recommendation so that we can ensure your care is provided by a network provider and that the care is authorized.

Q: Does this card provide for hospital care if my local physician recommends it?

A: If you are eligible to use the Choice Card and you see a doctor who recommends that you be admitted to a hospital, the provider should notify TriWest of that recommendation so that we can ensure your care is provided in a network facility by a network provider and that the care is authorized and will be fully reimbursed.

Back to Top

Payment Questions

Q: Does this card pay for any prescription drugs I may need?

A: In general, VA will continue to provide Veterans with any and all prescription medication you might require for care or treatment. In certain urgent and emergent circumstances, you can obtain a 14-day supply of medication from a local pharmacy and VA will reimburse your out-of-pocket expenses. However, we strongly recommend that you understand the circumstances under which VA will reimburse you for the costs of the medication. 

Q: Will I have to make co-payments when using the Choice Card?

A: The law requires that Veterans using the Choice Card make co-payments in the same manner as they would be paid for care or treatment from VA. In addition, the law also requires VA pay secondarily to any private health insurance you might have. When your commercial health insurance covers the costs of your care, then you may need to make co-payments or pay other expenses pursuant to the terms of that plan. If you owe any co-payments to VA, you will receive an invoice from VA after your care has been provided in the community.

If you do not select a health care provider who has agreed to participate in the program, you may be a risk for substantial out-of-pocket costs related to your visit.

Back to Top

Questions Covering Private, Commercial Health Insurance

Q: I am partially covered under my spouse's insurance. How does this card affect that?

A: It is important to know that VA is considered a secondary payer to any other private health insurance you may be eligible for when you use the Choice Card and for the treatment of a non-service-connected condition. As such, you will need to provide information about your private health insurance plan in order to use the Choice Card.

Q: I have private insurance. Should I drop it?

A: The decision to maintain or drop your private health insurance is a personal matter. VA does not require that you maintain private health insurance. Additionally, the Choice Card does not affect any coverage you may have through your own or a spouse's insurance. You should evaluate your decisions on any private health insurance you currently have according to your own unique health and financial circumstances.

Q: I have Medicare, how does it apply when I use the Choice Card?

A: Under current law, VA cannot pay secondarily if Medicare is your primary insurance. As such, if you give the provider your Medicare information during an authorized Choice Card visit, the Choice Card will provide no coverage, and you will be responsible for all Medicare co-payments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Q: I have TRICARE, how does it apply when I use the Choice Card?

A: Under current law, VA cannot pay secondarily if TRICARE is your primary insurance. As such, if you give the provider your TRICARE information during an authorized Choice Card visit, the Choice Card will provide no coverage, and you will be responsible for all TRICARE co-payments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Back to Top

Click below to access: 

The Depatment of Veterans Affairs (VA) Choice card website