Appeals court rules VA has been unlawfully denying reimbursement

Appeals court rules VA has been unlawfully denying reimbursement

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In a decision that could end up being worth $6.5 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, an appeals court ruled Monday that the VA must reimburse veterans for emergency care at non-VA hospitals. 

The court said the VA had been wrongfully denying reimbursement payments to veterans who sought emergency medical care at non-VA hospitals. They also nullified the internal Veterans Affairs policy that allowed the payments to be blocked. 

 "I’m just overjoyed. I think it means change, it means that veterans don’t have to be afraid of receiving care, emergency care," one of the plaintiffs told NBC News. "They can have that sense of security that sense of peace knowing they are covered if they have emergency care."

The reimbursements could impact hundreds of thousands of vets who have filed claims since 2016 and in total, the VA could be forced to pay out between $1.8 billion and $6.5 billion. According to a report, in August alone there were more than 17,000 veterans who had to pay $53 million in treatment that should have been covered by the Veterans Affairs department. 

According to statement to NBC news, the VA is aware of the decision and is currently reviewing it. 

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