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I heard a guy talking and he was bragging about how Medical Care for Veterans has been improving in the last coupe years..... have you witnessed it ? He spoke of something called VA Choice ? Have Veteran Suicide Rates fallen during the same time ?

I hope the guy was telling me the truth but I’d rather hear it from Straight Shooting Veterans here.
 

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The Veteran Medical program is Tricare. There are I think 3 levels.

Tricare Standard has $35 fee per month per person and $10 Copay for sponser and $20 copays for family. It has limits on what and how much is paid. You can go to specialests outside of your main providers office but may need VA approval. No Chiropractic, Acupuncture or Massage.

Tricare Prime is a $156 fee each year. $20 copay's. You have higher limits but you must get referrals and approval to see a provider outside your main providers office. No Chiropractic, Acupuncture or Massage.

Tricare for life is for after you turn 65 and go on National Medicare A. Its free for sponser but spouce must be on one of the two above till they turn 65. Medicare A pays the first part and then Tricare pays the rest.

The last 2 years the Federal Government Employees Health system was adopted for US Military. It is a better program with two teir levels that you must pick. Standard is like $56 per month per person for Vision and Dental. Then there are Copays and deductables. High level is like $110 per month each person and you get higher levels of coverage and a higher annual max.

So it is not free but it is more affordable than Cobra or standard health care fees thru your local states program.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Dave_J, have you seen shorter wait times for medical procedures ?
I thought I remembered you saying that you do volunteer work trying to help returning soldiers with thoughts of suicide ....have those numbers come down in the last year ? Are our boys getting proper psychological counseling now ?

Do you think the V.A. is improving or it’s still the same as it ever was ?
 

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Under Tricare Standard, my Medical coverage from Verizon Telco and my motorcycle insurance, my 2010 crash medical bills were over $175,000. I had to pay $35,000 of that out of my pocket.
My 2015 crash, my Med bills were over $300,000. I did not have coverage under my motorcycle insurance so my part was $75,000. I still owe $20,000. I did a HELOC loan at 3.99% to pay it off so I did not have to pay 14% interest. :(
 

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Thanks Dave_J, have you seen shorter wait times for medical procedures ?
I thought I remembered you saying that you do volunteer work trying to help returning soldiers with thoughts of suicide ....have those numbers come down in the last year ? Are our boys getting proper psychological counseling now ?

Do you think the V.A. is improving or it’s still the same as it ever was ?
On the wait times, I do not go to the Military Medical Facilities. I have a PPO that we go to. Its a very good one. I have to wait for appointments sometimes but no referrals needed.

On Suicide of veterans, the numbers are down slightly, very slightly . There were 22 veterans killing themselves every day, 365 days a year. I think it may be down to 20-21 now. It will never be down to zero, but we can hope and dream....

I am not actively volunteering all the time. We do the "Out of the Darkness" meets and walks.
I IMPLORE all members to find a local chapter and go for a walk. Post your chapters fund drive and I may donate to it.

 
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Discussion Starter #6
That is a good one Dave_J, I found one near me in Austin, TX in October 2020.

Great percentages.....better than 4/5 of contributions are going to those intended.

90822
 
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Just another bit of info. I just started on Tricare for Life first of last month, but have had Tricare Select for the last 5 years until then. It has been mostly the same coverage as my State Government employer medical insurance through BCBS. Tricare for Life requires me to be signed up for both Medicare parts A and B. Part A is free, covered by what is stolen... er... taken out of your paycheck for most workers. B is what costs per month so I do have to pay for that. But Medicare part A is no additional charge and Tricare for Life is also provided compliments of the US Military for me sticking around for 21 years. Before Tricare for Life, Tricare Select is free and is what I could have before Medicare because I was not near a military medical facility so was able to use the local medical resources and doctors same as my work medical insurance allowed (I was double covered then). My brother in law is also retired military but was near a base medical facility so had to have Tricare Standard and pay a monthly fee for it (until he started Medicare A/B) and was required to first go to the base for anything unless referred elsewhere. It can get more complicated than that but really doesn't need to be.

And yes, there have been some changes in Tricare coverages in the last few years. Cannot say how much they have affected my circumstance since I was double covered from work and also with Tricare. Tricare is always secondary to any other insurance. So I have always had the normal medical experience that anyone on an employer provided PPO or HMO policy has. Sometimes good, sometimes not so much.
 

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With Tricare Standard I had a referral for my foot doctor to inject the 3rd Lidacane/Hydrocortisone shot in a Mortens Nuroma. My foot Doc is 5 miles away.
But 4 days from my appointment, Madigan Army Hospital snatched the referral and set up an appoint for a first exam two weeks away. Madiagn Hospital is 38 miles and 1 hour 20 minuets in traffic. I cancelled, waited 3 weeks and got another follow up, not a referral, to my foot doc.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Did VA cancel your Apt ? How much would it have been just to get the foot doc to give you the shot without all the red tape? I’m not seeing that as an improvement.
 

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VA is a whole different ball game. It has nothing to do with Tricare. To use VA you must have a Service Connected Disibilty and they will only see you for that and nothing else.

Tricare canceled my appointment when they shanghaied it. I cancelled their appointment.

The time between the 2nd visit and this 3rd was too long so they made me get a new referral. I got this 3rd shot and 1 month later he operated and removed the nerve.

Years of crouching on the sides of houses working on the telephone box did this damage. I learned to use a box or bucket to sit on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Understood,,,,, was there any down side to having a nerve removed ?

Is there a nick name for those tuff little silver scissors you guys use ?
 

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Most of the Tricare is similar to mmy experience, except I had Tricare Prime and my Heart surgery copay was less than $ 100.00. To be clear, Tricare is for active duty and retirees, VA is the only thing available to veterans who did not retire, of course the gamet of civilian options are theirs as well. I have friends who have positive experiences with VA but no first hand knowledge.
 

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Understood,,,,, was there any down side to having a nerve removed ?
The nerve may grow back. In my case he pulls it back from under the toe and ball of the foot and then buires it inside the muscle so it thinks its still touching something. It has not grown back.

Is there a nick name for those tuff little silver scissors you guys use ?
Snips. The Electrician sissors are very tough and if you hold them right you have a real firm grip. You do not put your thumb in one, see vid below. You put your 3rd finger in one hole and the other hole goes into your palm. I can cut a 50 pair cable, 50 wires inside.
I have had classes with this guy Ron Kipper. Used a lot of his companies product.
 

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BTDT. I still have mine from my years in the Air Nat. Guard with a leather belt holder that holds the snips and an electrician/communications tech knife that can also be used as a standard screw driver for boxes and plates. I was the small computer shop supervisor but did a lot of work with the ground comm guys pulling phone and network wire and connecting phone and other electrical stuff. Handy little snips that can cut through more than you think!
 

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They cut thru a bag of potato crisps like it was nothing. I can also pop a cap off a brown 12 ounce bottle with them.

Top picture is what Wiremen and Linemen got.
Bottom is what Cable Splicers got. I was a Cable splicer.

Lineman Kit.jpg


Cable Splicers kit.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What was the “Hog Gutter” for ?
 

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Those were Military issue. Most wiremen tossed the snips and used sidecutters.

The hook knife was for splitting the thick cable sheath. You run the blade around the cable to score it and then bend it at the score line and it cracks.

In the civilian world we had what is called a "Blue Blade" that I scored the sheath with.

Blue Blade.jpg
 

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I still have the folding knife from your first photo of post 15 from my time in the Navy. And I also still have the pouch with both tools in the photo of post 17. All military issue.
 
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