Sen. Dean Heller amends defense bill to protect veteran health care |

Sen. Dean Heller amends defense bill to protect veteran health care

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

The U.S. Senate on Thursday adopted an amendment by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., asking for an explanation of reports that TRICARE Prime Health Coverage for veterans will be terminated.According to Heller, terminating that coverage would affect many military retirees and their families in northern Nevada.“Nevada veterans deserve answers from the Department of Defense on any healthcare changes and those changes should be justified,” he said “After everything our veterans have done for us, the least we can do is make sure they are afforded the very best treatment our country can provide.”Reports have indicated the new contractor for TRICARE West, United Healthcare, doesn’t plan to provide the so-called Prime Services. Heller said that will increase out-of-pocket expenses and make for longer travel distances for Nevada veterans seeking medical care.The amendment requires the DOD to report to the armed services committees in 120 days on such things as specific areas where TRICARE Prime will no longer be available, estimates of the out-of-pocket expense increases to veterans and plans for beneficiaries who won’t have access to the benefits in the future.Heller said he introduced the amendment after his letter seeking an explanation was not answered by DOD officials.