The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the phased roll out of newly designed, more secure Veteran Health Identification Cards. The new cards will have additional security features as well as look and feel different.
In addition to being more secure, the card has been transformed into a Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC). Similar to a typical health insurance card, the VHIC displays the veteran’s member ID, a new unique identifier, as well as a Plan ID, reflecting the veteran’s enrollment in VA health care.
“VA is committed to providing high quality health care while ensuring the personal security of veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “These new identification cards are an important step forward in protecting our nation’s heroes from identity theft and other personal crimes.”
The VHIC is personalized to display the emblem of the veteran’s branch of service. It also provides features that make it easier to use, such as the addition of “VA” in Braille to help visually impaired veterans, and the printing of VA phone numbers and emergency care instructions on the cards.
The card replaces the Veteran Identification Card (VIC), which was introduced in 2004. As part of a phased rollout, the card will only be offered to newly enrolled and other Veterans who have not been issued a VIC. In early April, VA will begin a three month effort to automatically issue the more secure VHIC to current VIC cardholders. VA recommends veterans safeguard their VIC as they would a credit card, and cut up or shred the card once it is replaced. While not required to receive VA health care, all enrolled veterans are encouraged to get a VHIC.