AARPColumnists

Reimagine Everything: Thank You to Our Veterans

By November 4, 2022December 23rd, 2022No Comments

Scott Tanaka

In honor of Veterans Day, I am happy to share AARP’s Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator 2.0.

Enrolling in a health care plan can be a grueling process, especially when it comes to finding the right information and knowing where to turn for assistance. This is particularly true when it comes to accessing veterans’ health benefits. Never assume your eligibility until you’ve made a full inquiry with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense.

The free online tool includes:

  • Detailed information on accessing health benefits provided through VA and DOD
  • Instructions on how to apply and enroll in VA health care
  • Information on how to
  • expand health care options with
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Connections for representatives who have experience and know VA’s benefits process

For the 17 million-plus Americans who served in the U.S. military, accessing health care benefits from VA or DOD can be a confusing and frustrating process at times.

Nearly 60 percent of all veterans, for example, are eligible for VA health care services, yet less than half of those eligible veterans use VA health benefits, according to RAND research.

And, the results of a 2021 survey conducted by the VA Center for Women Veterans found that women veterans age 50-plus are the least likely group to use their earned benefits.

Yet, quality of care delivered by the VA is generally equal to or better than care delivered in the private sector. Frustration with the application process and confusion about qualification requirements keeps many veterans from receiving their health benefits.

That’s why AARP created the Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator 2.0 to compile valuable information and resources to help veterans, military families and their caregivers navigate their health benefits options.

The expanded tool will help even more veterans and their caregivers access health care information. The 2022 edition has additional resources for military caregivers, plus NEW sections with easy-to-find, detailed information on veterans’ specialty care programs and services from VA for women veterans and mental health care.

Veterans and military families can access the tool at AARP.org/VetsHealthNavigator. AARP also provides free resources for caregivers who often play a critical role in helping veterans access the care they need. The new Military Veterans Caregiving Guide can be accessed by visiting aarp.org/VetsCareGuide.

AARP is committed to providing trusted information that veterans and military families can use when it’s needed. Visit our website to learn more and find additional resources at aarp.org/

Veterans. Thank you to our veterans and military families for their tireless service and relentless sacrifice.

Scott Tanaka is a member of the JACL Washington, D.C., chapter and is a policy, research and international affairs adviser at AARP.