Will using the VA’s Choice Program wreck your credit?



It very well might according to the VA itself.  

The VA wants my husband to drive about 200 miles round-trip for an x-ray and pulmonary appointment.  I called to see if the VA Choice Program (LINK) or non-VA care program could be used instead based on the geographical hardship factor. The VT scheduler said to call back in two days. Then I checked out the VA website and saw the alarming notice to the right.  Talk about disincentives!


I will follow-up to see if he’s eligible however after seeing this notice and doing a little reading, I think we’d rather use his Medicare Advantage card, cough up the $50 specialist co-pay and not jeopardize our good credit rating.  Besides, according to the VA Choice Provider Search tool, there are no local pulmonary specialists in the program.

According to a recent article in the Military Times (HADIT.com link here) providers are not being paid for months and some veterans are getting calls from collection agencies.  If Medicare fees and payment practices are acceptable to most private practices, the VA and their contractors should be able to follow suit.

We’ve found that Medicare, a single-payer government (yes, democratic socialist) insurance plan, works pretty darn well. Depending on your choices, it can get expensive. We employ different strategies each year.   I have original Medicare, plus a medigap policy, and a standalone Part D plan; My husband has a very cheap Medicare Advantage plan until he turns 65. Then we’ll shell out for another medigap plan for him.  Dual-eligible, his care will be split between the VA and private care.

The Choice Program is temporary according to the law but it should be perfected, expanded and permanent.  Probably Medicare should handle the non-VA care payment aspect of the program since they have the expertise.  It would save taxpayers a ton of money too.

About Laura

NW Vermont.
This entry was posted in All about Veterans, Guest authors, Medical News, Medicare for VETS, VA Medical Mysteries Explained, vA news, Veterans Choice card and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Will using the VA’s Choice Program wreck your credit?

  1. leona says:

    The phone number given above is incorrect although it has been given out by the official VA Blog and by Choice Program reps. I called the number yesterday because Choice has not paid a bill from November and I’ve been turned over to collections. The surly woman who answered said she didn’t know who was giving out their number, but they only assisted veterans in VISN 16. My only choice was to get my senator involved. We’ll see how helpful that actually turns out to be.

  2. WindTalker says:

    I quit using the VAMC years ago.
    Every department where you check-in for an appointment has a sign that said tell them if you have Medicare. I asked the check-in clerk, why does the vA want to know if a Veteran has Medicare?;
    Does the vA bill Medicare?
    Her answer was, the vA can not bill Medicare, and Medicare can not bill the vA.
    When my Medicare started I never set foot in the vAMC again.

  3. woodguy11 says:

    Every time I go to the VA clinic they ask me if I have Medicare and they then bill it to Medicare. The VA I believe is going to be privatized after the election. If we get a Goopper sitting in the big chair we all will feel the wrath of their short comings. Ray

  4. david murphy says:

    Have a fellow vet who lives near us, took VA more than 2 years to pay and yes it did affect his credit

  5. Reblogged this on reveilleafterthecall and commented:
    I know it took my brother-in-law almost 11 months to get VA to pay for ER visit and hospitalization. Had to get their Senator involved.

  6. MS Frank says:

    @Kiedove: “Probably Medicare should handle the non-VA care payment aspect of the program since they have the expertise.”

    Hmm, where does that thought lead?

    Here, maybe?


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