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Question for my fellow Vets


Brent H.

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Like many Vets I use the VA healthcare system quite frequently. My question for everyone is what your experience with the VA has been like for cancer treatment. While I have yet to be diagnosed positively for cancer I am asking more out of curiosity than necessity. I do have private insurance as well. If I do get the diagnosis I am leaning toward Community Care route since the closest VA hospital to me is almost an hour and a half away. I am hoping and praying I don't need to find out, but I do like having contingencies in place ahead of time. 

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Brent,

Welcome here.

I didn't use the VA hospital system when diagnosed with lung cancer. As a retired soldier, I was (am) eligible for TRICARE and in 2004, I was working full time and had the benefit of a very good employer-provided health insurance plan. So, I can't give a first hand report but I've known many Vets who've been treated for lung cancer in the VA system. And, from their reports, treatment is, on par, with that received from civilian hospitals. Of course, the most important benefit, especially if one is treated with targeted therapy or immunotherapy, is the no cost basis to the Veteran. Co-pays for exotic chemo drugs often require deep pockets.

Most complaints about VA medicine is negotiating the treatment eligibility priority. If you are contemplating civilian care, a good plan may be to use that resource, and keep the VA in reserve in the event you are prescribed exotic pill form chemotherapy. Then I'd use the VA pharmacy to obtain your medicine cost free and avoid taking a second mortgage out on your home to settle co-pays.

Stay the course.

Tom

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15 minutes ago, Tom Galli said:

Brent,

Welcome here.

I didn't use the VA hospital system when diagnosed with lung cancer. As a retired soldier, I was (am) eligible for TRICARE and in 2004, I was working full time and had the benefit of a very good employer-provided health insurance plan. So, I can't give a first hand report but I've known many Vets who've been treated for lung cancer in the VA system. And, from their reports, treatment is, on par, with that received from civilian hospitals. Of course, the most important benefit, especially if one is treated with targeted therapy or immunotherapy, is the no cost basis to the Veteran. Co-pays for exotic chemo drugs often require deep pockets.

Most complaints about VA medicine is negotiating the treatment eligibility priority. If you are contemplating civilian care, a good plan may be to use that resource, and keep the VA in reserve in the event you are prescribed exotic pill form chemotherapy. Then I'd use the VA pharmacy to obtain your medicine cost free and avoid taking a second mortgage out on your home to settle co-pays.

Stay the course.

Tom

Unfortunately I did not retire. I separated after 8 years so I wasn't eligible for Tricare. I have the insurance through my wife's job and having a service connected disability most of my costs are covered by the VA. They always bill my other insurance first and then pick up the remainder. I figure I have a reasonable chance at Community Care due to the distance from the VA hospital. I have used it several times on the past for other issues. I have experience with the cancer center in my town due to my wife currently receiving treatment from them for thyroid cancer. I was wondering because the most serious care I have received from them was having a tonsillectomy.

 

Thanks for the welcome. I am very happy that I found this resource.

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