Monday, April 22, 2024


Only 50% of Lake County Veterans are cur­rently using VA health care. With recent eligi­bility changes, I think it should be closer to 80% or higher. I will continue from high atop my soapbox to spread the message until every Lake County Veteran has submitted a VA health care application. Why should you listen to me?

The application process is free and there are no premiums to pay. A few minutes of your time to provide basic information may result in a lifetime of health care benefits. I admit I am going to use the word “may” several times in this article. CVSOs only assist you with submitting the application and do not make the decision about your enrollment in VA health. You will not know unless you apply.

If you successfully enroll, then you may receive free annual physicals. The check-up may include a physical exam, check for heart health, lung ex­amination, skin screening, laboratory test (bloodwork), and screenings for cancer risk factors. You may also receive mental health screening, evaluation, and management.

You may receive vision care which covers rou­tine eye exams and preventative vision testing. If you’re a blind or low vision Veteran, you may be able to get more advanced vision care and reha­bilitation services. Under certain conditions, you may receive prescription eyeglasses at no cost.

As an enrollee, you may receive comprehensive audiology diagnostic evaluations. You may receive hearing aids and/or other hearing assistive devices at no cost. If hearing aids are prescribed, then re­pairs and future batteries will all be at no charge to you, if you maintain VA eligibility for care.

You may receive prescription medications, pre­scribed by your VA primary care provider, at little or no cost. If your enrollment priority requires a copay, then you may pay between $5 and $11 per month per medication. According to KFF.org, the average copay (employer health benefits) is be­tween $11 and $66.

If you are or become a service-connected, dis­abled Veteran, then you may be eligible for ad­ditional, free health care services. Regardless of when you served, where you served, what you did in the military, or your current health, you may apply for VA health care. Even if you were denied in the past, you should apply again today.

The application process is relatively easy. For more information, call MyVA411 at 800-698-2411, online at va.gov/healthcare/apply/application/in­troduction, or contact your CVSO for a printed application (VA Form 10-10EZ).  

Brad Anderson and Melissa Crandall are the Lake County Veterans Service Officers and can be reached at 218.834.8326 or cvso@co.lake.mn.us

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen.christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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