Veterans Beat: New Veteran Health Identification Cards is easier to use

by Ron Seman Published:

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Feb. 20 the phased rollout of newly designed, more secure Veteran Health Identification Cards. The new cards are distinguished by additional security features and will have a different look and feel, and it will be more secure.

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.

"VA is committed to providing high quality health care while ensuring the personal security of veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "These new identification cards are an important step forward in protecting our nation's heroes from identify theft and other personal crimes."

The VHIC is personalized to display the emblem of the veteran's branch of service. It also 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 cards.

The card replaces the Veteran Identification Card (VIC), which was introduced in 2004. As part of a phased rollout, starting this month, the card will only be offered to newly enrolled and other veterans who have not been issued a VIC. Then, in early April, VA will begin a three-month effort to automatically issue the more secure VHIC to current VIC card holders. VA recommends veterans 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, all enrolled veterans are encouraged to get a VHIC. Enrolled veterans can get more information about the VHIC by visiting their VA medical facility enrollment coordinator or the website: www.vaa.gov/healthbenefits/vhic, calling 1-877-222- VETS (8387) 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, by calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visiting their local VA health care facility.

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