Applying for Healthcare if You Are a Veteran
Veterans, their family members are eligible to receive benefits from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA provides a wide range of medical benefits that is available to all veterans who are enrolled in their healthcare system. Eligibility for enrollment into the VA system depends on a number of factors. To enroll, veterans must fill out an application.
What Are the Healthcare Benefits for Veterans?
The VA medical benefits package provides comprehensive preventative care services, diagnostic and treatment services, and medications and other supplies. These benefits are available in VA hospitals and clinics throughout the country.
VA preventative care services include:
- Physical exam and health assessments
- Screening tests
- Health education programs
VA diagnostic and treatment services include:
- Emergency inpatient and outpatient care in VA facilities
- Routine medical care
- Mental health care
- Substance abuse services
Medications and supplies available through the VA include:
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Medical and surgical supplies
Depending on a veteran’s eligibility and priority status, the cost for these may require a co-payment.
Who Is Eligible?
Veterans who were actively enrolled in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard (or Merchant Marines during World War II) and were discharged under other-than-dishonorable conditions may be eligible for VA healthcare benefits. In addition, reservists for the National Guard who were called to active duty by a Federal Executive Order may qualify for VA benefits. Healthcare is available from the VA to many more veterans than just those who served in combat or who had service-connected injuries or medical conditions.
However, determining one’s priority for assistance under the VA program is complex. There are a number of procedures to follow to find out your priority level.
The VA conducts an annual enrollment system for the health benefits program. Veterans who have service-connected disabilities and those below the low-income threshold are prioritized for enrollment.
After that, eligibility for the VA’s healthcare benefits depends on a number of factors, including:
- The nature of the veteran’s discharge (ie, honorable, other than honorable, dishonorable)
- Length of service
- Available VA resources
How Do I Apply?
To receive the benefits offered through the VA’s healthcare package, veterans must be enrolled in the VA healthcare system. To enroll, you must fill out an application, called the VA Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits.
The application will be used to determine whether your service qualifies for VA benefits and whether your veteran status places you in one of the priority groups eligible for healthcare.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Health Care Benefits and Services
Department of Veterans Affairs
Health Benefits Program
Veteran Affairs Canada
2008 copay requirements at a glance. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/CopayGlance/CopayGlance.pdf. Published February 2008. Accessed August 27, 2008.
Applying for care. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/application/application.asp. Accessed June 14, 2006.
Enrollment priority groups. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/EPG/EnrollmentPriorityGroups.pdf. Published March 2008. Accessed August 27, 2008.
Health care eligibility and enrollment for veterans. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/eligibility/Eligibility.htm. Accessed June 14, 2006.
Medical benefits package. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/coveredservices/StandardBenefits.htm. Accessed June 14, 2006.
VA healthcare and enrollment frequently asked questions. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Resource/FAQs.htm. Accessed June 14, 2006.
VA healthcare eligibility. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/HECHome.htm. Accessed June 14, 2006.
Last reviewed June 2010 by ]]>Brian P. Randall, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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