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VA health benefits meet health reform requirement

— Are you confused about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)? ACA is also known as the Health Care Law (aka Obamacare).

Many people are worried about the requirements of the new law. For the 15 percent of Americans in and out of health insurance coverage or not insured at all — new options exist for access to health care. By January 2014, all Americans are required to sign-up for health insurance coverage.

Good News: If you are a Veteran and you already have coverage through VA health benefits, you already meet the requirements of the new law. If you are a Veteran and not yet connected to VA services, you can call the local Veterans Services Office for help. Telephone 541-506-2502 and make an appointment with VSO staff Russell Jones or Patrick Wilbern to apply for VA benefits.

If you are eligible, you will meet the requirements of the ACA. As an eligible veteran you can access primary care at the VA outpatient clinic in The Dalles. Your spouse and dependent children may also be eligible for CHAMPVA (Civilian Health and Medical Program). CHAMPVA coverage also meets the requirements of the new law.

To learn more about your options, you can also go online at www.va.gov/aca/ or call the national VA access line at 1-877-222-VETS.

To learn more about civilian options in Oregon you can view the www.coveroregon.com website or telephone 1-855-268-3767.

If you live in Washington you can look at www.wahealthplanfinder.org or telephone 1-855-923-4633.

Kathleen Martin is a Veterans Services Office volunteer.

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