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New Online Navigator Aims to Streamline Access to Veteran Health Benefits


Monday, November 22, 2021   

LINCOLN, Neb. - November is National Veterans and Military Families Month, and AARP has launched a free, one-stop online resource to help more families access health care.

More than 340,000 veterans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and Veterans Affairs medical centers have reported nearly 15,000 deaths.

Todd Stubbendieck - state director of AARP Nebraska - said now more than ever, veterans and military families need help navigating what can be a complicated enrollment process to get the health-care benefits they earned.

"It's a lot for people to navigate," said Stubbendieck. "And what AARP has come up with is an online resource that will help them navigate the benefits, the requirements and what they are eligible to receive."

Nearly 60% of veterans nationwide are eligible for health-care services through the VA, but less than half actually tap those benefits, according to the latest RAND analysis.

Stubbendieck noted the quality of VA care is widely viewed as equal to or better than care delivered in the private sector. The Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator is available online at ''

Misunderstanding or frustration with the application process, and confusion about qualification requirements, are seen as the biggest barriers for veterans trying to access health benefits. And Stubbendieck said health care needs can also change over time.

"While someone may have been eligible for VA health care benefits earlier in their life, and chose not to do it," said Stubbendieck, "as they get later in life they may decide that they want health care at the VA. And so it's about tailoring and finding the right fit for them and their particular health-care needs."

Stubbendieck said the new online resource provides a thorough overview of available health benefits, including specific documentation families will need to have ready. He added it can also help families connect with a real person who has experience navigating the enrollment process.

Disclosure: AARP Nebraska contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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