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. Learn more about affordable health insurance for veterans and families by reviewing the following areas:
- VA health care programs
- Affordable Care Act Marketplace
- Dependents and spouses of veterans
VA Health Care Programs
The most affordable health insurance for veterans is through the VA health care system. The VA's affordable health coverage for veterans and families more than meets the federal minimum standards specified in the Affordable Care Act. Affordable health insurance for veterans and families provided by Veteran Affairs has no monthly premiums, no deductibles and little to no out-of-pocket costs. The three programs that provide health care coverage minimums under ACA include the VA health care program, the Civilian Health and Medical program (CHAMPVA), TRICARE and the Spina Bifida health care program. Those enrolled in VA affordable health coverage for veterans and families may also use private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or TRICARE to supplement health care services outside of VA medical facilities.
To meet with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act coverage for veterans, the VA sends the health coverage IRS form 1095-B to enrollees to include on income tax filings. This form will detail all the months in the tax year when the enrollee was under VA health care coverage. If veterans and families have more than a three-month gap in coverage, they may be subject to penalties from the ACA.
Affordable Care Act Marketplace
Affordable Care Act coverage for veterans is a requirement for former service members who do not have health care insurance and do not wish to pay the penalty. The intention of ACA coverage for veterans is to make health care insurance more accessible to those who typically could not afford it. Like the VA affordable health coverage for veterans and families, health insurance obtained through the Marketplace is more affordable for low-income households than private insurance obtained elsewhere. There is also little-to-no cost for low-income veteran households seeking health care coverage.
When completing the Affordable Care Act coverage for veterans, applicants will be able to view all the programs and savings for which they are eligible. Subsidies provided by the ACA will vary depending on the applicant's household size and income. While some ACA coverage for veterans offers flexibility, some ACA plans limit services to a network of providers.
Dependents and Spouses of Veterans
Although Veteran Affairs provides affordable health insurance for veterans, family members of veterans may not meet eligibility guidelines for VA health care programs. Spouses and children who are not able to enroll in VA affordable health coverage for veterans and families can apply for health insurance from the ACA Marketplace online or over the telephone. If dependents do not sign up for Affordable Care Act for veterans families, they may be subject to the penalty when filing taxes. It is important for both veterans and families to understand that vision only, dental only, worker's compensation and other limited health plans do not fulfill ACA minimum coverage requirements.