VA Announces Rollout of Secure Veteran Health Identification Cards
On 20 February, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ay announced a phased rollout of its newly designed and more secure veteran identity card in response to their present identity card calamity. The VA has responded more quickly than it originally anticipated.
In addition to being more secure, the card has been redesignated as the Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) – replacing the Veteran Identification Card (VIC) introduced in 2004.
Similar to a typical health insurance card, the VHIC displays the Veteran’s Member ID, a new unique identifier, as well as a Plan ID reflecting the Veteran’s enrollment in VA health care.
It also displays the emblem of the Veteran’s branch of service and provides features that make it easier to use, such as the addition of “VA” in Braille to help visually impaired Veterans and the printing of VA phone numbers and emergency care instructions on the back of the card.
As stated, the rollout will be phased. Beginning 21 February, the VA will begin issuing the VHIC to newly enrolling veterans and enrolled veterans who were not previously issued a VIC (again, the old card format) but had requested one.
By early April, it is expected the VA will begin a three month effort to automatically issue the more secure VHIC to current VIC cardholders through the U.S. Mail. More than four million new cards will have to be issued. If you are unsure the VA has your correct address, call 1-877-222-VETS (8387). If the post office cannot deliver your VHIC, the card will be returned to the VA.
The VA recommends veterans meanwhile safeguard their VIC as they would a credit card, and cut up or shred the card once it is replaced. While not required to receive VA health care (in fact most do not qualify for it long term), all who are enrolled are encouraged to get the new card.
Enrolled veterans who do not have the VIC can contact their local VA medical center Enrollment Coordinator to arrange to have their picture taken for the new VHIC, or they may request a new VHIC at their next VA health care appointment. To ensure their identity, veterans in this circumstance, like a new enrollee, must provide either one form of primary identification or two forms of secondary identification. Please click here for more information on acceptable documents for identity proofing (go to the bottom of the page).
Enrolled veterans can get more information about the VHIC by visiting their VA medical facility enrollment coordinator or the website www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic, calling 1-877-222-8387 (the Veterans Health Administration’s toll-free health care number) or visiting their local VA health care facility.
Veterans who are not enrolled in the VA health care system can apply for enrollment at any time by visiting www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll, calling 1-877-222-(8387) or visiting their local VA health care facility.
Source: http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/ and VA Public Affairs Press Release, 20 February 2014.
As of 20 February 2014