Key Facts About The Veterans Health Administration

( Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A history of scheduling problems:In 2010, a top VA official issued a memo to the departments medical centers listing 17 schemes that VA clinics were known to be using tocover-up treatment delays. The memo said the practices were inappropriate and would not be tolerated, but whistleblowers claim the actions continued for years. Spending:In general, slightly more than 40 percent of the VAs annual budgets went toward medical care between 2000 and 2013, although the percentage dipped last year to 38 percent of the VAs $139 billion budget for benefits and services. The VA spent $52.5 billion on hospital and medical care in 2013, more than double its expenditures in that category for 2000. Staffing:VHA employees accounted for nearly 89 percent of the VAs total 278,565 workers in 2008. An audit two years ago determined the agency had not developed an effective method for determining whether staffing levels were appropriate at any given clinic. VA health official Thomas Lynch said during a hearing on Wednesday that the department is still not sure whether it needs to add or shift personnel to address the scheduling problems.
Key facts about the Veterans Health Administration

Health insurance: To choose a plan, take a cue from online dating –

Try again By submitting you agree to our Terms of Service Your Take contributions have not been reviewed for accuracy by USA TODAY. Contributors agree to our Terms of Service and are responsible for the content of their videos and photos. Please report any content that violates the terms. Let friends in your social network know what you contributed on Your Take Post to Facebook Something went wrong. Try again. This contribution is a part of: Many employees hit with higher health care premiums CancelSend A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. Many employees hit with higher health care premiums Employees hit with higher health insurance premiums Sponsored by Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY 1:11 p.m. EDT May 28, 2014 Employees pay higher health care premiums. (Photo: BAY ISMOYO, AFP/Getty Images) 2960 CONNECT 355 TWEET 152 LINKEDIN 251 COMMENTEMAILMORE More employees are getting hit with higher health insurance premiums and co-payments, and many don’t have the money to cover unexpected medical expenses, a new report finds. More than half of companies (56%) increased employees’ share of health care premiums or co-payments for doctors’ visits in 2013, and 59% of employers say they intend to do the same in 2014, according to the annual Aflac WorkForces Report.
Many employees hit with higher health care premiums

Many employees hit with higher health care premiums

Health care premiums

So whats my advice? First, get some help or hire the right marriage broker, which in this case is an insurance broker. Having the right information on benefits versus costs is necessary when trying to compare plans. See what works best in your budget and lifestyle. Just as you would introduce a potential suitor to your friends and family and ask what they think, ask them for broker referrals. Next, talk to your doctor. Im assuming that you have a doctor whom you value and trust, and that you would want a health plan that allows you to continue with the same providers. As a way to control costs, many new health insurance plans have narrowed the pool of providers in their networks. And many plans have cut out-of-network benefits, so this means that you will have to find a new doctor, or face paying with cash to continue with your existing provider. RECOMMENDED: Key world markets to see big changes. Get in-depth reports FREE. Once you make the commitment to start a new relationship with an insurance company, understanding and learning what is, and isnt, covered is important because you cant cancel or change your plan until the next open enrollment period.
Health insurance: To choose a plan, take a cue from online dating –


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