Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Area veterans are getting surprise bills from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Henry County Veterans Affairs Officer Roger Pittsenbarger told the Board of Supervisors Thursday that the VA has resumed billing veterans for medications and services.
'Ever since the coronavirus started, they stopped billing veterans for medications and things like that they get through the mail,” Pittsenbarger said.
Washington County Veterans Affairs Officer Sue Rich confirmed the VA action on Friday.
'The VA paused payments of medical debts beginning in April of 2020,” Rich said. '(Veterans) started getting bills this month.”
Pittsenbarger said he has heard from a number of veterans about the bills.
'They've been getting letters from Debt Management from the VA,” he said. 'I've had several phone calls before I found out what was going on with that with Debt Management.
'They thought they were getting them all free and that they did away with copays and all this other stuff. That's not true.”
Pittsenbarger said he sent a letter to the VA seeking assistance for veterans who are receiving the bills.
'Depending on the amount of money they are requesting from these guys, some of them just can't afford it,” Pittsenbarger said. 'If they're going to hold them responsible for that, they're going to have to give them some kind of discount or payment plan so they can pay it off without a debt hanging over their head.
'We'll see where that goes.”
Rich said that any veteran unable to pay the VA bill should contact the VA.
'The VA is going to work with them,” Rich said. 'Veterans need to contact the VA and set up some sort of payment plan.
'The VA really does not want the bills to go to collection. That would only be a last resort.”