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    Native American, Alaska Native Veterans Saved $2.5 Million in Medical Costs Under New VA Waiver Program

    Native American, Alaska Native Veterans Saved $2.5 Million in Medical Costs Under New VA Waiver Program

    The Department of Veterans Affairs says it's saved Native American and Alaska Native veterans about $2.5 million in medical costs since exempting them from copayments last year.

    The VA has waived or exempted about 143,000 copays for some 3,800 veterans since starting the program, according to a news release published Tuesday. The exemption covers copays for VA medical appointments, urgent care visits and prescriptions.

    Congress mandated the copay exemption as part of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, saying the VA could no longer collect copays from veterans who meet the definition of “Indian” or “urban Indian” under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

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    The VA missed its Jan. 5, 2022, deadline to implement the law. It began exempting copays on April 4 of last year and at the same time began reimbursing veterans who'd paid copays for VA health care between the deadline and the of the program. It's still reimbursing those copays now.

    The VA estimated at the time of launching the fee waivers that 150,000 Native American and Alaska Native veterans in the U.S. were eligible for copay-free health care from the Indian Health Service or tribal health programs.

    But the IHS and its programs have typically been underfunded, officials said, causing delays in health…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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