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VA phasing in new ID card with improved security features

The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced the phased rollout of a more secure Veteran Health Identification Card.

The cards, first introduced in 2004, are getting improved security features and will be personalized to display the emblem of the veteran’s service branch. They will include VA phone numbers, emergency care instructions and the “VA” in Braille to help visually impaired veterans, according to a VA statement Thursday.

The rollout begins this month, starting with newly enrolled veterans and those without VIC cards, the statement said. In early April, the VA will begin a three-month effort to get replacements to current VIC cardholders, who will be asked to cut up or shred their old cards to safeguard their personal information.

“VA is committed to providing high-quality health care while ensuring the personal security of Veterans,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said in the statement. “These new identification cards are an important step forward in protecting our nation’s heroes from identity theft and other personal crimes.”

The new cards will function like a typical health insurance card, the statement said. They will include the veteran’s member ID, a new unique identifier, as well as a plan ID, reflecting the veteran’s enrollment in VA health care, the statement said. The cards are not required to receive VA health care but are recommended.

For more information, enrolled veterans can visit their VA medical facility enrollment coordinator, call 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic. Those who are not enrolled in the VA health care system can apply by calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387), visiting their local VA health care facility or clicking on www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll.

news@stripes.com

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