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VA officials launching new personalized Veterans Health Benefits Handbook

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Department of Veterans Affairs officials are testing a new, personalized Veterans Health Benefits Handbooks. The handbooks are tailored to provide enrolled veterans with the most relevant health benefits information based on their own specific eligibility. In essence, each handbook will be written for the individual veteran.

"These handbooks will give veterans everything they need to know and leave out everything that doesn't apply to them," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Our veterans will now have a comprehensive, easy to understand roadmap to the medical benefits they earned with their service."

In addition to highlighting each veteran's specific health benefits, the handbook also provides contact information for the veteran's preferred local facility, ways to schedule personal appointments, guidelines for communicating treatment needs and an explanation of the veteran's responsibilities, such as copayments when applicable.

"Enhancing access isn't just about expanding the kinds of services VA provides," Secretary Shinseki said. "It also includes making sure we do everything we can to ensure veterans have a clear understanding of the benefits available to them so they can make full use of the services they have earned."

Initially, the new handbooks will be available only to certain veterans in Cleveland and Washington, D.C., areas. Following the pilot phase, full implementation is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2011 for across the county.

For additional information, go to www.va.gov/healtheligibility or call VA's toll-free number at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).