VA Secretary Throws Support Behind Low-Cost ‘Traumatic Injury’ Insurance

April 20, 2005

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson has backed proposed legislation creating low-cost “traumatic injury” insurance for members of the armed forces.

“We need to do all we can to help these veterans badly injured on the
battlefield,” said Nicholson, a combat-decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. “Low-cost traumatic injury insurance is a big step toward providing security for the families of veterans.”

Nicholson endorsed the legislation during a press conference
April 19 attended by the provision’s sponsor, Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) and Dr. David Chu, under secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Under Senator Craig’s legislation, service members could purchase low-cost “traumatic injury” insurance that would provide a lump-sum payment up to $100,000 for certain catastrophic injuries that occurred on active duty. The coverage would also be available to members of the National Guard and Reserves.

The insurance premiums would be deducted from service members’ monthly pay. The amount has not yet been determined. Receiving the insurance would be in addition to disability compensation or medical care a veteran can receive from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Among the catastrophic injuries covered by the insurance would be:

* Permanent loss of sight;
* Quadriplegia and paraplegia;
* Loss of a hand or foot;
* Loss of hearing or speech; and
* Comas.

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