The Department of Veterans Affairs is issuing new Veteran Health
Identification Cards (VHICs) to about 4 million veterans and family
members enrolled in VA’s health-care system.
The new cards provide a more secure means of identification for veterans
due to Social Security numbers and dates of birth no longer contained in
the card’s magnetic strips or bar codes. Instead, the cards now display
an Electronic Data Interchange Personnel Identifier number as the
"member ID" on the front of the card and embedded in the magnetic strip.
These numbers will be unique to each cardholder. While The American
Legion understands the need to convert to a more secure ID card system,
it is urging the department to ensure that no VA enrollee is denied
timely access to health care during the card transfer.
According to VA, mailing of the cards, "Will begin soon. Because we will
be reissuing 4 million cards, we ask for your patience during this
time." A new VHIC will be automatically mailed to veterans who have the
old Veteran Identification Card (VIC).
Last September, VA suspended the issuing of VICs to allow time for
changing its systems to read the new card. However, VA has continued
taking veterans’ requests for cards – the requests have been put on hold
but will be produced and issued as soon as the final system changes are
Enrolled veterans who do not have the old VIC may contact their local VA
medical center’s enrollment coordinator to arrange to have their
pictures taken for the new cards, or they may request a VHIC at their
next VA health-care appointment. Veterans must provide proper
identification in order to receive the new cards.
To receive VHICs in a timely manner, veterans enrolled in VA should make
sure their mailing addresses are correct. To update or confirm an
address with VA, call (877) 222-VETS (8387). If the post office is
unable to deliver a VHIC, the card will be returned to VA.
While VA regrets the delay in providing veterans their new cards, the
cards are not required to receive VA health care. The VHIC is for
identification and check-in at VA appointments. It cannot be used as a
credit card or an insurance card, and it does not authorize or pay for
care at non-VA facilities.
Copyright Business Wire 2014