CONCORD — AARP has launched a new tool to bring together information and resources to help veterans, military families and their caregivers navigate their health care options.
The Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator provides veterans with information about what is required to qualify for health-care benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense.
“Now more than ever, veterans and military families need help accessing the health care benefits they earned serving our country,” said AARP NH State Director Todd Fahey. “This free, one-stop resource will help make the process less confusing and overwhelming for veterans and military families as they navigate their options.”
Even before the pandemic, veterans and their families struggled with where to begin when deciding the best path for their health-care needs: VA health care, Military Tricare, Medicare, private insurance or Medicaid.
Recently, more than 340,000 veterans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and VA medical centers has reported almost 15,000 deaths from the disease. In addition, of the 112,790 veterans living in New Hampshire, only 25 perent have used their earned benefits at VA health care, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The AARP Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator can help families:
• Learn more about health benefits provided through the VA and DoD.
• Understand how to apply for and enroll in VA health care.
• Identify how to get help from representatives who have experience and knowledge of the VA’s process for awarding benefits.
Nearly 60 percent of veterans are eligible for VA health-care services, while fewere than half of those eligible veterans use VA health benefits, according to a RAND study. Yet quality of care delivered by VA is generally equal to or better than care delivered in the private sector. A misunderstanding or frustration with the application process causes many veterans to simply forgo VA health benefits. Oftentimes, confusion about qualification requirements keeps veterans from receiving their health benefits.