It’s important to know about the various benefits that exist for a veteran when it comes to health care coverage. The options are extensive and are based on what the veteran has for VA coverage as well as their current income level.
Understanding the options makes it easier to obtain coverage for an affordable monthly payment. Often, a veteran is able to seek VA coverage. The Veterans Health Care Program is designed to provide coverage based on service. For those who are disabled in any capacity, they will be able to get medical coverage as well as disability income. It is all based on percentages for the various ailments and medical conditions. Once a veteran reaches 100 percent disability, all of their health care coverage is taken care of, as is the coverage for all dependents.
There is Always “TRICARE”
TRICARE is another option for a veteran to explore. Not everyone is able to qualify for TRICARE upon retirement, however, it is an option for many. For those who completed a full retirement of 20 years, they will be able to seek the option. There are various plans available, ensuring that a veteran can choose the necessary coverage for themselves as well as their family. They will have coverage in all major areas:
- Doctor visits
- Emergency room visits
TRICARE is the military’s panacea for health care services for active duty members. TRICARE can be combined with Medicare and civilian health care programs. TRICARE sponsors 11 different health plan programs for military men, women, children, and survivors. The different plans are designed to fit most health and medical coverage required by different phases of military activity by veterans and their families, including deployment overseas. However, make sure that you talk to your regional DOD office about TRICARE and their varied plans because certain programs do not meet standards for minimum essential coverage.
Different Plans of Tricare
The different types of TRICARE insurance plans that do not qualify are policies that are limited to veterans on active duty care and policies, that provide for veterans requiring medical treatments both in hospitals or local clinics. Other than those enrolled in these policies, however, military members and their families should not have to change plans in order to be in compliance with Obamacare and avoid penalties. TRICARE qualifies for the minimum coverage required under The Affordable Care Act. Don’t worry, though the TRICARE for Life plan is open to all military retirees, their spouses/dependents, widow/widowers and who are eligible for Medicare Part B. TRICARE is managed by the Department of Defense (“DOD”) and its Defense Health Agency (“DHA”).
VA Health Care
All active and retired veterans and their dependents are eligible to receive VA health care treatments. Veterans must enroll to receive VA health care treatments. Enrollment can be submitted through an online VA website or your local VA institution. The VA Health Care program fits the Affordable Care Act for a requirement of minimum health coverage services. Male and female military veterans have access to all primary care medical benefits packages involving:
- specialty care
- mental health
- home health
- geriatric care
- extended care
- cancer screenings
- prenatal care
- and other cost-free health care services including preventive care.
American Veteran Aid
In some cases, there may be a very small copay. There are other veteran aid programs like the “American Veterans Aid” program. Veterans who served during active wartime and their spouses (65+) could be eligible for this tax-free program through the Department of Veteran Affairs, called “Aid and Attendance.” This is a private healthcare program where older veterans and their surviving spouse can receive monthly monetary aid to help offset long-term care. Benefits include daily in-home care and assistance. The monthly amount never needs to be repaid, it is tax-free, and it is issued through the Department of the Treasury.
If a veteran doesn’t have coverage through Veteran Affairs, there are still plenty of health care coverage options. They will be able to go through the health insurance marketplace on healthcare.gov. Once they complete a survey discussing their earnings and their household size, they can see what their options are. Private insurance could be affordable. Various programs are in place, which is designed to supplement the cost of insurance premiums as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Veterans are often able to choose the actual insurance company they get their health insurance through. This ensures that they can look at the total level of coverage that is obtained and see what doctors are included in their area. This is particularly important if a veteran and his or her family has a doctor that they already favor.
Options For Those With Low-Income
There are plenty of affordable programs available, ensuring that health care coverage is obtained for not only the veteran but also the entire family. Not all doctors are included in all health plans. But if a veteran has a low income, they might also qualify for Medicaid. This would be available for them as a veteran as well as for the dependents that they have. There is also the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Either of these programs may be available for a minimal amount per month or at no cost at all, depending on the level of income and the size of the family. It’s important to understand that no matter what, a veteran must have health care or face the penalty just like everyone else. The first step for any veteran to find health care coverage is to sit down with a specialist at a VA office. It will allow them to apply for disability and find out what they qualify for. From there, they can explore TRICARE and the other VA options that exist. Without help from the VA, the next option is to explore private insurance.
List of Health Care Coverage Options for Military Veterans and their Families to Consider
Health and medical benefits are available to all branches of military service men, women, and their family members. There are several health programs that veterans can qualify for through the Veterans Administration Department (“VA”). The VA can help veterans choose the right one to fit his or her situation. The veteran health and medical programs options include the following:
The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare does not have any major effects on veterans or any Veterans Administration healthcare programs. This means that uninsured military veterans may be exempt from the ACA’s penalties for those without insurance. At the most, the uninsured may be affected through the cost of certain prescription drugs or medical equipment.
The Children of Women Vietnam Veterans Health Care Program is not totally comprehensive. The CWVV covers only specific medical services for female veterans whose children require treatment for mental and physical birth defects as a result of their parents (mainly military women veterans) having served in Vietnam between 1961 and 1975. Additional medical conditions are also covered under the CWVV program. Talk to your local Veterans Administration agent for succinct information on authorization requirements, training, rehabilitation, monetary services, and claim filing information.
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (“CHAMPVA”) is an all-inclusive health care benefits program. The VA covers the cost of some services and products for military veterans and their beneficiaries. CHAMPVA is a separate health program from TRICARE, meaning if a veteran is eligible for TRICARE, they can not be eligible for CHAMPVA. CHAMPVA has made some recent changes in where veterans and their family receive their care. Today veterans and their family members can receive healthcare treatments from the VA, as well as private providers. Also, VA medical sites are required to provide in-house services to beneficiaries. Medicare Part A and Part B coverage can be used in conjunction with CHAMPVA but it will be recognized as a secondary payer.
Spina Bifida Health Care Program (SBHCP)
Spina Bifida healthcare benefits are provided only to Vietnam/Korean (between 1962 and 1975) military veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange and whose children were diagnosed with spina bifida. The health program covers most of the services and supplies that are needed to treat this disease and its outlying medical conditions. Beneficiaries can choose their own medical provider. Individuals covered by SBHCP can also receive services through the Shiners Hospital for Children free-of-charge. Veterans and beneficiaries eligible for SBHCP if it has been proven that veterans were exposed to a herbicidal agent during the wars.