On August 6, 2012, President Obama signed Janey Ensminger Act into law, which recognizes that Camp Lejeune water contamination may be responsible for health problems for military veterans and their family members. This law will help provide medical care to some of those affected by the toxic water. Let’s take a look at the Act, who and what it covers, and where to learn more about your eligibility for health care coverage.
Health Care Eligibility for Camp Lejeune Water Problems
Studies have shown that the Camp Lejeune water had high levels of toxins, including industrial solvents, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, benzene, and other chemicals, during the time period between Jan. 1, 1957 and Dec. 31, 1987. You may be eligible for VA health care benefits if you served on active duty, or lived on Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days during this time frame. This also covers babies who were in utero of their mother lived on the base during this time frame.
There are 15 medical conditions which are currently covered under this act. They include: leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, myleodysplasic syndromes, renal toxicity, hepatic steatosis, female infertility, miscarriage, scleroderma, neurobehavioral effects, or cancer of the lung, breast, bladder, kidney, or esophagus.
How to Receive Health Care
Health care benefits are provided by the VA health care system, not TRICARE. If you are a veteran who is already enrolled in the VA health care system, you will need to contact your local VA health care facility to receive care. If you are not currently enrolled, you may do so online. If you are not a veteran, you may need to contact the contact the Enrollment Coordinator at your nearest VA health care facility.
Must exhaust all other health care options first. Veterans are covered under the VA Health care system. However, family members of veterans must prove they have exhausted all other health care options before putting in a claim with the VA Health care system. This includes the use of employer sponsored or individual health insurance.
When you can receive health care. The act was only recently signed into law, and it did not set a deadline for the VA to begin providing health care to Camp Lejeune water contamination victims. It may be several months before the regulations are written and go into effect.
This is Not Disability Compensation
Even though the health care is provided by the VA health care system, this is not automatically considered a service-connected disability. Service connected disability claims can be made at any time after you leave the service, so if you feel strongly that Camp Lejeune water contamination contributed to an illness or other health problem, then you should contact your VA representative or a service agency such as the American Legion or VFW about filing a new or updated disability claim with the VA. You can also appeal a VA disability claim. Each claim is determined on a case by case basis, so you will need to prove your residency and how it may have affected your health.
Where to Get More Information
Download the law. For more information, you can download and read the law (pdf).
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