The new Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) travel reimbursement policies are creating a conundrum for some veterans around the nation – particularly those who live in rural areas.
The new VA bill that was recently enacted makes it easier for veterans to access care. If there is no facility nearby or there is a 30+ day waiting list for appointment, veterans are now able to seek care elsewhere.
Issues with VA Travel Reimbursement
However, some veterans are taking issue with the travel reimbursement policy. The VA will only reimburse veterans for travel expenses to the nearest facility. So while veterans can now get medical care elsewhere, they will have to foot the bill for travel if they are going to a facility that is not closest to their home. This can be a significant financial burden, especially for those who live in rural areas.
Here is a case in point from Argus LeaderI, a news outlet in Sioux Falls. Ken Feigh is a retired Navy vet in rural South Dakota with a $700/month fixed income. It costs him $700 to $800 a year in travel expenses for his medical care, he estimated. “That’s not an exaggeration. It may be more. You’ve got me and how many other veterans who live in rural areas who aren’t served by an adequate medical facility?” he said.
In many cases, the nearest facility is not the patient’s choice. Some of the valid reasons are below.
- Many veterans like to see both their primary and specialists at the same location.
- They may choose a slightly further facility because it’s easier to get an appointment.
- They may want to stay with the own doctor.
- The nearest facility may offer subpar care. Travelling a little further to a provider in the city might mean a higher quality of care.
Information for Disabled Veterans
Veterans can learn more about travel reimbursement by visiting the VA website. For legal questions or for help with your disability benefits, veterans can call the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group for a free consultation. Contact us today at 1-855-855-8992 to determine how we may be of service to you.