Battling the Storm Within

Thursday, January 17, 2019

YES, the VA has to reimburse you for emergency medical costs — despite what they say

Three lawsuits later, the VA is still making it unnecessarily difficult for veterans to get reimbursement for emergency medical costs from non-VA facilities. The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) is working — for the third time in as many years — to fix that.
Round 1: Staab v. Shulkin, 2016

Richard Staab incurred a $48,000 medical bill for emergency open heart surgery at a non-VA facility, and the VA refused to reimburse him because his secondary insurance covered part of the emergency bill. Under the Emergency Care Fairness Act of 2010 (ECFA), this is illegal. NVLSP and Mr. Staab won this lawsuit — the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims ruled that, yes, the VA was meant to step in as a secondary payer where other health care insurers covered only a portion of the cost at non-VA facilities.

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