State Senators Frank LaRose (R-Copley) and Dave Burke (R–Marysville) introduced legislation on Monday that would ensure Ohio’s commitment to veterans by assisting them in gaining access to healthcare benefits which they have earned.
“Several healthcare options exist at the state and federal level for veterans,” said LaRose. “The problem is that many veterans don’t know the benefits that are available or how to navigate the system to receive them. This program will help clarify this process for them so they can gain access to the assistance they very much deserve.”
“For some, federal veteran’s benefits are much more broad, deep and less costly than state Medicaid,” said Burke.  “Identifying these veterans, who could still choose either program, is important as they would receive more services than they are currently receiving through Medicaid.”
Senate Bill 10 will require the Ohio Department of Medicaid to utilize the Public Assistance Reporting Information System to identify Medicaid beneficiaries who may qualify for various enhanced healthcare benefits provided by the Department of Defense or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.  Once identified, individual veterans and their families will have the option to either continue receiving their current Medicaid benefits or enroll in the available federal programs.  The bill allows veterans and their families to choose the option that best suits their situation.
According to the 2010 Survey of Veterans released by the Department of Veterans Affairs, 28 percent of veterans had never used VA healthcare services.  Of those individuals, 42 percent said that they were not aware the benefits were available.  This bill will work to ensure all Ohio veterans are aware of the services available to them.
Similar programs have been adopted by states across the country to not only enhance the medical care for veterans, but have also seen an overall costs savings for the states.  Since the inception of the program in the State of Washington in 2004, the program has been credited with saving the state $30 million.
Senate Bill 10 will soon be referred to committee for further consideration. 

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