What happens if you become medically disqualified while at West Point?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by daine, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. daine

    daine Member

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    What would happen if you hypothetically speaking got some sort of disqualifying condition while attending West Point? Something like cancer or high blood pressure? Thanks
     
  2. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    Some quick research makes me believe you will be separated from USMA. They recommend you keep your civilian health insurance for such a reason. I don't think you are obligated to repay, etc. but I could be wrong.
     
  3. Raxbar

    Raxbar New Member

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    Hmm, I've been wondering the same thing. I'm guessing certain medical conditions like the ones you mentioned (cancer, high blood pressure) would likely get you separated. However, would less serious medical conditions such as acne that becomes severe and requires Accutane also force separation?
     
  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    This is a rare situation but it happens annually. A close friend of mine got cancer. He was treated, rolled back a class and Commissioned. I also had a buddy get type 1 diabetes and another develop Chrones. Both graduated but did not commission. Each year there are a handful of Mids who don't graduate. I can't speak for USMA or USAFA but I am guessing it's pretty similar. Each case is handled and evaluated individually. They want to commission you, so they will do whatever they need to get you healthy. You will have another physical later in that medically qualifies you for commissioning. For those who want to fly or another branch that requires certain requirements these will all be done too. It is much more in depth than DODMERB.
     
  5. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 Parent

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    R-Day is a sort of invisible line. Once you cross that line, sign your papers, and take the oath, your health is the army’s problem. If what was a disqualifying condition the day before R-Day happens to you after R-Day, there is a whole new set of rules that would govern the situation. But plebe summer is a sort of gray area where if you, say, break a leg, you would most likely be sent home and given a spot in next year’s class. Well, as long as you didn’t break your leg when falling down because you were drunk or high or something. That would of course be a whole other issue!

    I’ve seen cadets who were diagnosed with cancer and in some cases they took some time off, got treatment, and were deemed well enough to come back. Some of them were commissionable and others were not, but they were still allowed their degree. Others were not given the OK to continue their military careers. It is so dependent upon the specifics of the illness that no one here can really give an answer.

    And yes, this is why you should stay on your existing health insurance, if at all possible!
     
  6. civic29

    civic29 Member

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    High BP doesn't disqualify you. They try to treat everything they can and sometimes put people on medical leave. Separation is a last resort. Don't worry about medical stuff though, it's unlikely and only gets you worried.
     
  7. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    As long as you are a cadet, any medical expenses are covered by Tricare (the military medical insurance). If you end up separating from USMA, then you can buy medical insurance at that time from the marketplace. So, no need to keep an existing health insurance if it ends up being a costly arrangement for you.
     
  8. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    It also depends on the situation and how far into the process you are. I had a classmate with a terminal illness who was diagnosed as a junior. He was allowed to stay and graduate but not be commissioned.

    He did get a nice job with full benefits from a major defense contractor which covered him until he died (the blue line came thru)

    Though each case is treated differently, my experience was if you weren't considered 'commissionable' and it was discovered prior to the start of junior year, the cadet/mid was dismissed
     
  9. SpadGuy

    SpadGuy Member

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    Federal labor laws don't apply to military personnel (like cadets) but it apply to DOD civilians with disabilities. There was a case about the United States Merchant Marine Academy and a student with diabetic years ago. A USMMA student who was diabetic after he entered and sued the government under the Rehanilitation Act of 1973. He lost.. The SMA don't allow cadets with disabilities but ROTC units and the Citadel, and VMI do allow like LD, ADHD but not physically disabilities. The ADA don't apply to federal employees with disabilities since executive agencies of the U.S. Government (from the 14 departments to all the independent agencies (EPA, NASA, etc) are exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, but these agencies are covered by similar nondiscrimination requirements and additional affirmative employment requirements under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For example, disabled civilians working for DOD in the US and military installations and US embassies abroad are under Section 501. The ACCESS Board (http://www.access-board.gov)
    This is typical of what happens to individuals with significant medical conditions or disabilities--they are deemed not service capable because of dependence on meds or accommodations which may compromise them in the field of battle and put them and others at risk. The military has full right of discrimination in these matters. Like freedom of speech for example. You cannot write or talk about nuclear weapons. The point of departure is when one actually signs on to be commissioned as an officer. Then, one falls completely under military authority and the DOD applies. If one wants to continue in a commissioning track, he or she will have to abide by the regulations for suspending medication/accommodations, if permission is granted to continue with a waiver.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/95-365.ZO.html


     
  10. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    This is a gamble, since if you are found to have something such as cancer it would be considered a pre-existing condition and thus hard/impossible/expensive to find health insurance on your own if separated. For our family, we pay one price for a family plan, and keeping DD on it while at a SA will not cost us any extra. *If she gets an appointment- which of course we're still hoping for :)
     
  11. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    When you only have one child on the policy, then keeping a family policy instead of just a couple policy, is much more expensive. If you have other children also on your policy, then it's a simple matter to keep your cadet also on the plan. But when your cadet is the only 'child' on the policy, then it becomes a financial decision.

    Obamacare was supposed to do away with problem of getting a policy with a preexisting condition. It should no longer be an issue.
     
  12. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
  13. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    You had me until you said 'Obamacare' and implied it fixed/solved things
     
  14. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    I'm no expert on Obamacare, but in the two years that I've had to use the marketplace to buy health insurance, I've never been asked any questions about my health/preexisting conditions. The problem that you could not buy health care if you had a preexisting condition is certainly something that needed fixing. This was definitely a problem. That said, I'm not a fan of Obamacare. I'd use more colorful language but I might get banned if I did. ;)


    I just did a bit of googling and found this:
    No More Pre-existing Conditions as of 2014
    ObamaCare eliminates pre-existing conditions starting 2014. No more pre-existing conditions means you can’t be denied coverage, charged more, or denied treatment based on health status.
    http://obamacarefacts.com/pre-existing-conditions/
     
  15. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    Great theory

    It's a serious post - I was just adding sarcasm based on 'free medical care experiences' and federal government solutions in general
     
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  16. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    Here's the catch from that link - it says they can't discriminate "during open enrollment".....however they still CAN discriminate outside of the open enrollment period. What a horrible thought, if your cadet gets something like cancer and you must wait until November to apply for coverage the following year.

    I totally understand that it might be financially hard to continue health insurance, and if we didn't have other kids (and hence no cost issue), we might also consider dropping healthcare too.

    But...I still think it's a gamble!
     
  17. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    A good question for HR might be- would my cadet/mid being disenrolled from a SA be a 'change' that allows for additions to the company healthcare plan outside of the enrollment period

    For example, we adopted a child and were allowed to add the child as a dependent during the current cycle and after the 'enrollment period'

    As a general rule - you have to be very clear about the question when sifting through the answer(s)
     
  18. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    Clicking through the various links, "life events" such as marriage, births or adoption do not have to wait for open enrollment, but everything else does. So Obamacare can shout the headline "No more exclusions for pre-existing conditions!"

    But then you get to the details, and you won't be covered until the following year.
     
  19. civic29

    civic29 Member

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    Honestly though, Op shouldn't be worrying about this unless you're diagnosed with something. Just get to R day and worry about schoolwork, not stuff that's out of your control and is unlikely.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
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  20. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    But OP's parents should know their options because it does happen - however rarely
     
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