Monday, September 29, 2014

Under 2012 law, VA to cover health costs of Marines’ ill dependents at Camp Lejeune
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday that it will soon start to cover out-of-pocket health-care costs for Marine dependents who contracted cancer and other illnesses from toxic water at Camp Lejeune, as promised two years ago by law.
In 2012, Congress passed the landmark Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act.
It provided health care for Marines and family members who had lived on the base near Jacksonville, N.C., from 1957 to 1987 and who had suffered from any of 15 illnesses named in the law. These included cancer related to the lungs, bladder, breasts, kidneys and esophagus, as well as leukemia and problems involving female infertility.
About 750,000 people were exposed to drinking water at the base that was polluted with chemicals that included industrial solvents and benzene from fuels. The chemicals resulted from spills, a dump site on base, leaking underground storage tanks on base and an off-base dry cleaner.
Under the 2012 law, VA immediately offered full care for veterans who had been stationed at ­Lejeune, but it told their dependents who suffered from covered illnesses that they would have to wait to be reimbursed.
The announcement of final rules on Tuesday meant that later this year the agency will start to reimburse family members under the 2012 law for costs since March 26, 2013, that were not covered by insurance. The date is when Congress appropriated funding. The rules first must be published in the Federal Register, to be followed by a 30-day waiting period before people can file claims.

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