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Wayne's Words: Fire Department changes

Wayne Horne | 2/7/2018, 12:38 p.m.
This week’s Joliet City Council meeting sparked what could be identified as a ‘balance of resource and need’ debate. In ...

Legislation was recently introduced by Congressman Randy Hultgren of the 14th District regarding veterans using the Veterans Choice Program. The legislation addresses the fact that veterans are being billed for services received that are not being paid by the VA. Of course, when the bills don’t get paid on a timely basis, the veteran’s credit score can be affected. Hultgren’s bill would delay a veteran’s credit reporting for one year in order to straighten out any improper billing or late payments. Unfortunately, the issue is not that simple.

The problem is on both sides of the billing process. Private sector healthcare is segmented. No one entity is responsible for billing services. For example, lab tests are billed separately from the doctor or hospital. If a veteran is on Medicare, the provider generally assumes that’s who is responsible for payment. The veteran is responsible for making sure it is billed properly. Even when you tell the provider the VA is responsible, they bill Medicare anyway. Same thing often happens when the veteran has group insurance or an individual policy.

The VA system certainly can use some adjustments and changes within the system, but it works pretty well when compared to the multiple healthcare systems we navigate in our country. A recent Harvard University study showed that medical expenses account for approximately 62 percent of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. The bankruptcies can’t all be from veterans. Stay tuned… wayne@thetimesweekly.com also Like Us On Facebook