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Learn About Veterans Health Care

The requirements veterans need to meet in order to get Health Care Benefits are determined by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), a branch of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that oversees health care programs for veterans. The VHA provides various services such as primary care, mental health treatment, PTSD treatment, specialty care and women’s medical services.

To qualify for veterans health care benefits, the applicant must meet the definition of a veteran. A veteran is an individual who has performed active military service and was discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. Any service member who was discharged with an honorable condition may qualify for basic coverage, providing he or she meets all other health care requirements. Veterans health care benefits qualification also includes individuals who served in the U.S. National Guard or Reserves and engaged in a full tour of active duty as enacted by Congress.

Minimum duty veterans health care requirements state that veterans must have served a minimum of twenty-four consecutive months or if called to active duty, the full period for which they were called. Some exceptions to the minimum duty veterans health care requirements include a discharge for disability caused in the line of active duty.

Enrollment in veterans health care starts with the application process. Applicants can apply by telephone, online, by mail or in person. The VA will then review the application and determine if the applicant qualifies. Once an individual is enrolled, he or she remains enrolled without the need to reapply each year. Any changes in personal information, such as income or contact information, can be updated by filling out a VA form 10-10EZR. Veterans health care enrollment qualification depends on the verification of the information provided on the application. Income levels, discharge conditions, disabilities and other factors are all reviewed for that purpose.

Veterans priority group benefits are based on the needs of the veteran and the resources available at that time. After an applicant’s veterans’ health care benefits qualification is approved, the applicant is placed in one of eight priority groups, with number one receiving first priority. These priority groups allow the VHA to better allocate their health care resources with the demand for them. When resources become limited, the VA may decrease the number of priority groups that will be enrolled. If there are any changes to the benefits program, the VHA will notify participants in writing.

Enrollment in veterans health care is not required for four categories of veterans, including:

  • Veterans with a disability of 50 percent or more that was incurred in the line of duty.
  • Veterans with a disability incurred in the line of duty that the military has not yet rated.
  • Veterans wanting care only for their disability incurred in the line of duty.
  • Veterans looking for registry exams for various hazards such as Agent Orange or ionizing radiation.

Although members of the groups are not required to enroll, they are still encouraged to do so in order to help the VHA plan health care resources. To learn more about veterans’ health care, including services, requirements, and how to apply and initiate the enrollment process, select from the topics below.

Find Out About Health Care Services

Veterans health care services are administered by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The program oversees the health care services provided to qualifying veterans. U.S. veterans that qualify can access the program through various health care facilities including hospitals, clinics and counseling centers. Beneficiaries enjoy health care benefits for veterans, such as mental health care (emotional trauma, suicide prevention, substance abuse, PTSD treatment), women’s health issues (breast exams, gynecological care, maternity care), military exposures treatment (Agent Orange, radiation, asbestos), health and wellness services (flu vaccines, immunizations, HIV/AIDS therapy) and dental care.

Discover How to Qualify for Veteran Health Care

Veterans health benefits qualification is extended to veterans who have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as service personnel who are currently serving on active duty. Veterans that qualify for health care enrollment must meet the minimum requirements for veterans’ health care benefits and have served for the required minimum tour. While most applications are processed within the same week in which they were received, not everyone will be granted access to veterans health care.

Learn How to Apply for Health Benefits

Many ways to apply for veterans health benefits exist throughout the U.S. The Veteran’s Administration (VA) is one of the largest health care systems in the U.S., assisting and offering health care and medical services to over 8 million veterans each year. To apply for veterans health care enrollment and qualify for VA health benefits, applicants must have served honorably on active duty in the armed services. Current or former members of the National Guard or Reserves who were called into services by a federal order and completed their full tour are also able to qualify for VA benefits.

Learn About the Affordable Care Act and Veterans

Affordable health coverage for veterans and families has been a top concern since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The requirements of the Affordable Care Act for veterans are identical to the requirements for civilians. Obligatory ACA coverage for veterans is met when the veteran is enrolled in the VA health care system. This means enrollees will not pay the tax penalty nor will they need to apply for more coverage to meet the required health coverage standards. Individuals not enrolled in VA health care can apply for affordable health insurance for veterans and families through the ACA Marketplace.

Find Out What the Veteran Health Identification Card Is

The Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) replaced the existing Veteran Identification Card (VIC) in 2015 with the Veterans Identification Card Act. The Veteran Health ID Card is only available for service members enrolled in the VA health care system. The VHIC is not proof of qualification for any type of federal benefits, nor does it allow access to any installations that require military clearance. The Veteran Health Identification Card is specifically for veteran health care and checking into VA appointments. Those interested in how to get a Veteran Health ID Card by enrolling in the program must qualify. Applying for VA health care and the corresponding VHIC is a little different from other military cards.

Find Out How Health Care Appeals Work

The VA health benefits appeal process is a very complex process that includes multiple steps. The veterans health benefits appeal process uses something known as an open record system. This system allows veterans to submit medical evidence at any point during the appeal process. The VA health benefits appeal process can be a lengthy and involved experience for some veterans.