Even If You Use The VA - You Can Save More Money

Almost anyone who served in the military during the time of an armed conflict is eligible for very low cost health care and prescriptions. (others are also eligible). It is available for some people with large assets and high incomes.
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Not all methods posted here will work. These are simply ideas some people have found to be useful.

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Even If You Use The VA - You Can Save More Money

Postby jimithy » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:22 pm

Even If You Use The VA - You Can Save More Money', 'Most people think that Veterans who can use the VA Medical System have no problems with health care costs. My wife and I both live on Social Security. We both have major medical problems that consume a great deal of our monthly income.

The VA prescription copay is a flat $8/month for all medications and medical supplies... no matter how expensive or how cheap.

One way I try to save money is by NOT using the VA for as many medications & supplies as possible.

NOTE: The VA copay Is now $9 instead of the $8 used in this example.

I save about $65.53 a month by doing this.
    $8.00 versus $2.17 .5mg Clonazepam (split 1mg in half)
    $8.00 versus $0.00 lancets (I just soak my Lance in a glass of alcohol between uses)
    $8.00 versus $0.50 rubbing alcohol (less than 1 bottle a month)
    $8.00 versus $4.00 2 mg Terazosin 2 mg
    $8.00 versus $2.00 10 mg Lisinopril (split 20mg in half)
    $8.00 versus $0.60 80mg Aspirin
    $8.00 versus $0.60 Multivitamin Supplement (less than 1 bottle a month)
    $8.00 versus $1.20 1000 mg Omega 3 Supplement (less than 1 bottle a month)
    $8.00 versus $1.40 200mg Ibuprofen (less than 1 bottle a month)
    $8.00 versus $2.00 40mg Simvastatin (split 80mg in half)
The totals are:
    $80 versus $14.47
Which means I save about 82% over using only VA drugs/supplies for these items.

But wait it gets even better. I have continuously complained to everyone at the VA that I could that they keep sending me way too much medication (without me requesting it.) I saw my doctor yesterday and brought in 2 bottles of Simvastatin, each was a 90 day supply. The VA charges $8.00 for every 30 day supply so those bottles cost me $48.00. I showed my doctor how I could get 80mg Simvastatins from 3 local pharmacies and split them, resulting in a cost of only $2.00 a month. VA screw-ups cost me 8 times that much. I got him to drop Simvastatin from the part of my chart the Pharmacists normally read (while keeping it in as a note). He did the same with Terazosin, Clonazepam, and Lisinopril. This way they will stop sending all of these extra months of medications.

I currently have 13 bottles of insulin that cost me $104.00. I only need 2 bottles which should have only cost me $16 if the Pharmacists hadn’t sent the same prescription multiple times a month.

I have 3 LARGE boxes of insulin needles. Each box contains 600 needles (total 2400). At most I use 4 needles a day so those needles will last me more than 6.5 years. I am sure they will be sending me more boxes in the coming months at $24 each.

The other problem is that the VA refuses to recognize our valid medical expenses when determining our yearly income. We carefully save all our receipts and take them into a major VA hospital near us. The accounting people verify that all of the receipts are legit and fill in our income on the form for us (so no mistakes can be blamed on us) based upon our only income (Social Security) minus our only deductions (Medical expenses).

Every year the VA processing center in Atlanta rejects the income information because the total does not match the income reported by Social Security to them. This results in an additional cost of $15 to $50 for EVERY doctor visit and I have a lot of them.

The result is that I have owed the VA hundreds of dollars for years (It keeps getting higher). I am on a payment plan that will never pay it off. Once the VA attached my Social Security check (hadn’t known they could do that.)

I am doubly screwed because our government is flooding the VA system with huge numbers of soldiers from the last 3 wars. The survival rate is much better than in older conflicts. This means that for every soldier killed, there are many more wounded than there used to be. Instead of increasing funding for these extra patients, the government has been systematically reducing the VA Health system budget in the last several years. Because of this the care has greatly deteriorated.

I did not sign up for Medicare Part B when I became eligible because the VA system was much better than Medicare coverage at that time. That is no longer true BUT there is a 10% (compounded yearly) penalty for people who want to sign up for Medicare Part B after they were first eligible. I can no longer afford Medicare Part B so I am stuck in a VA system that is going downhill fast.

A piece of advice is to sign up for Medicare Part B whenever it is first available even if you qualify for being in the VA Health system. It will then be something you can fall back on when the VA system goes under.

I guess you can tell I am a bit uptight about the VA. :roll:
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Postby dlcnurse » Wed Mar 21, 2007 10:49 pm

The only think I can say is WOW! I had no idea how the VA handles their medical. The information given on the VA sites does not reflect this aspect of it. I am speechless at this point and just don't know what to say.
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Re: Even If You Use The VA - You Can Save More Money

Postby jimithy » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:44 pm

updated and checked for broken links. 8/10/2011 by jimithy
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