AARP launched a new tool this weeks that seeks to connect veterans, military families and their caregivers with all of their healthcare options. The Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator provides Kentucky’s veterans with critical information about what is required to qualify for health care benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or Department of Defense (DoD).

According to a recent study by RAND, while nearly 60% of all veterans are eligible for VA benefits, only about 34% of those eligible have utilized VA health care.

“Now more than ever, veterans and military families need help accessing the health care benefits they earned serving our country,” said Charlotte Whittaker, AARP Kentucky State President. “This free, one-stop resource will help make the process less confusing and overwhelming for veterans and military families as they navigate their options.”

Even before the pandemic, veterans and their families struggled with where to begin when deciding the best path for their health care needs: VA health care, Military Tricare, Medicare, private insurance, or Medicaid. Recently, more than 340,000 veterans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and VA medical centers has reported almost 15,000 deaths from the disease. In addition, of the 312,000 veterans living in Kentucky, only 34% have utilized their earned benefits at VA health care, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The AARP Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator can help families:

· Learn more about health benefits provided through the VA and DoD;

· Understand how to apply for and enroll in VA health care; and

· Identify how to get help from representatives who have experience and knowledge of the VA’s process for awarding benefits.

AARP’s Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator is available at www.AARP.org/VetsHealth Navigator.

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