ALBANY - A new program that would help war veterans obtain dental and vision care was unveiled last week and was endorsed by State Assemblyman Robert Castelli (R, C Goldens Bridge) and State Senator Greg Ball (R, C Patterson). Both officials represent Lewisboro and Pound Ridge.
The ceremony to introduce the program was held at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in Vails Gate, N.Y. in Orange County. A similar unveiling is being planned for Westchester County in the coming weeks.
As a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, Castelli said he knows that dental and vision care are often times hard to come by for veterans.
The new, private venture is called Smiling on America's Heroes and was introduced by Careington Inc., one of the nations largest dental insurance providers.
To qualify for dental and vision benefits, the VA requires those returning from overseas and those who have served in the great wars of the last century must have either a service-connected dental or vision issue, or be 80 percent disabled, Castelli said. It is an unfortunate reality that in these tough times, dental and vision insurance are sometimes luxuries beyond reach for young working families, and our aging veteran populations. It is my sincere hope that this program will be heavily marketed to fulfill this need.
The discount plan promises its members savings of up to 70 percent on dental work, including savings of 40 percent for routine procedures and unlimited cleanings, as well as discounts ranging from 15 to 35 percent for vision care, throughout a network of 94,000 providers nationwide, for only $8.95 a month.
I look forward to joining Senator Ball, County Executive Rob Astorino, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to implement this program in Westchester County, the mid-Hudson region, and throughout our entire state and nation, Castelli said.
The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) has endorsed the program and is encouraging county veteran service agencies throughout the state to market the program to veterans and returning service members.
The program also includes dependant care services to help veterans with referrals for elder care, child care, and care for people with disabilities. For more information on the program, visit www.smilingonamericasheroes.com .
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