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Assistance Programs
the  Health  Benefits  Program,  however,  is  the Civilian   Health   and   Medical   Program   of   the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS). This aspect of medical  care  is  of  particular  benefit  to  eligible beneficiaries   residing   in   areas   where   service medical  facilities  are  unavailable  or  unable  to accommodate  them.  CHAMPUS  authorizes  a wide range of civilian health care services, with a significant share of the cost being paid by the government. Participation   in   CHAMPUS   by   sources   of care is entirely voluntary. Beneficiaries desiring treatment  or  hospitalization  under  CHAMPUS must  locate  a    “participating”  physician  or another  source  of  health  care  willing  to  provide authorized  care  to  the  beneficiary.  The  source must  be  willing,  after  payment  of  a  stipulated amount by the beneficiary, to submit a claim to the proper government fiscal agent for payment of the remainder of the fee. The source must also be willing to accept the amount the government determines  to  be  allowable  for  the  services. Inherent in CHAMPUS is a “reasonable fee” concept,  meaning  the  government  will  pay  only those  charges  it  determines  to  be  reasonable.  If a  fee  charged  is  considered  unreasonable,  the difference between the fee for treatment and the amount  paid  under  CHAMPUS  will  have  to  be paid  by  the  beneficiary.  The  reasonable  fee concept  can  be  costly  if  not  understood.  Some beneficiaries  erroneously  think  the  government will  pay  the  full  charge  made  by  any  civilian source  for  authorized  health  care.  If  treated  by a nonparticipating medical caretaker, the patient must  pay  the  bill  for  any  extra  money  charged. The patient should always ask at the time of the initial  visit  whether  the  physician  or  hospital participates in CHAMPUS and will accept (after the patient’s contribution) the government fee as payment in full. Claims submitted to the govern- ment by participating parties include an agreement to accept as full payment the amount authorized as  payable  under  the  program. Except   for   emergency   care,   hospitals   that practice   discrimination   in   the   admission   or treatment  of  patients  on  the  basis  of  race, color,  or  national  origin  may  not  participate  in CHAMPUS.  In  other  words,  the  government won’t  pay  for  their  services,  and  beneficiaries receiving treatment at those institutions will foot the entire bill. Dental care is provided to all military person- nel  and  in  some  cases  to  their  dependents  as well.  Most  dental  care  for  dependents  is  not provided by the military. Dental insurance may be   purchased   by   military   personnel   for   their dependents  through  a  group  policy  called  Delta Dental Plan (DDP). DDP is a voluntary program of preventive services and basic dental care. The cost of that insurance is presently under $10 per month   and   provides   coverage   for   all   your dependents. COMMISSARY   AND   EXCHANGE PRIVILEGES One feature of Navy life a service dependent will  especially  appreciate  is  the  privilege  of purchasing  food,  household  goods,  and  personal items at a reasonable cost through commissaries and  service  exchanges.  These  government  facilities permit service personnel and their dependents to purchase  basic  commodities  at  fair  prices. In  overseas  branches  of  those  activities, personnel and their families may buy foodstuffs and  exchange  items  that  otherwise  might  not be  available.  Many  commodities  ordinarily obtainable overseas through other means carry a much  higher  price  tag.  In  addition,  particularly for foreign goods or unfamiliar brands, exchanges and   commissaries   ensure   good   quality.   Their buyers are experts; most of us are not. Exchanges and commissaries base their prices on the same price scale used by their stateside counterparts. DEPENDENT  SCHOOLING Elementary   and   secondary   schooling   are available  overseas  at  government  expense  for eligible  minor  dependents  of  Department  of Defense (military and civilian) personnel. To be eligible, a dependent must be between the ages of 5   and   20;   must   be   authorized   by   competent authority to be in the overseas area; and must be the  unmarried  child,  stepchild,  legally  adopted child, or legal ward of the Department of Defense (DOD)  member  stationed  overseas. Schooling may be provided by DOD schools; tuition-fee  schools  (schools  under  local  govern- ment, private, church, or cooperative administra- tion);  and  correspondence  courses.  The  type  of schooling  provided  depends  on  the  number  of eligible dependents in an area and the availability of private schools that use English as the language of  instruction. Schools  operated  by  DOD  are  designed  to meet the special problems created by a change of duty station in midyear. Teachers for these schools must   meet   U.S.   qualifications,   must   be   U.S. citizens, and usually are recruited from the United 3-18

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