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Woman's Effort Plugs Loophole That Cut Veterans' Insurance

December 25, 1991| Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Armed with only a typewriter and a telephone, Terry Cox took on Congress and closed a loophole that had left her husband and thousands of other disabled veterans without military health coverage.

It took more than a year of writing, calling and, frankly, pestering every member of Congress before legislation was adopted to restore military insurance benefits through age 65 to about 9,100 disabled veterans. The measure was part of a military spending bill that President Bush signed earlier this month.

It began in 1987 when her husband, retired Army Staff Sgt. Andy Cox, fell from a ladder and suffered head injuries that left him a quadriplegic. Andy Cox, now 54, remains bedridden and almost motionless. Terry Cox landed in bankruptcy and had to sell her home to provide for her husband's care.

His military-sponsored health insurance had covered his around-the-clock care--while it lasted. A little-known provision in a 1972 law said that, if totally disabled patients require continuous medical care for longer than two years or reach 65, they are turned over to Medicare.

But Medicare has limited provisions for home care--and none for Cox since his case is termed "maintenance."

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