Applying for Healthcare if You Are a Veteran

veterans medal of honor flag Veterans and their family members are eligible for benefits from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA offers a wide range of medical benefits to those in their healthcare system. A person's eligibility depends on a number of factors. To enroll, veterans must complete an application.

Healthcare Benefits for Veterans

The VA medical benefits package offers preventive care services, diagnostic and treatment services, and medicines and other supplies. These benefits are available in VA hospitals and in clinics around the country.

VA preventive care services include:

  • Immunizations
  • Physical exams
  • Screenings
  • Health education programs

VA diagnostic and treatment services include:

  • Emergency inpatient and outpatient care
  • Routine medical care
  • Surgery
  • Mental health care
  • Substance use disorder services

Medicines and supplies through the VA include:

  • Prescription and over the counter medicines
  • Medical supplies

Some services may require a co-payment. It depends on your eligibility and priority status.

Eligibility

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 benefits. Reservists for the National Guard who were called to active duty by a Federal Executive Order may also qualify. Healthcare is available from the VA to many more veterans than just those who served in combat, were injured, or have health problems.

Finding out your priority level under the VA program is not as easy. There are many steps to follow.

The VA holds an annual enrollment. Veterans who have service-connected disabilities and those below the low-income threshold are given priority.

After that, eligibility depends on things like:

  • The nature of the veteran’s discharge (honorable, other than honorable, or dishonorable)
  • Length of service
  • VA resources

How to Apply

Veterans must be enrolled in the VA healthcare system to receive benefits. You must fill out an application, called the https://www.va.gov/Vaforms/medical/pdf/10-10EZ-fillable.pdf, Application for Health Benefits to enroll.

The application will be used to find out your priority level and whether your service qualifies for you for benefits.

RESOURCES:

Department of Veterans Affairs
http://www.va.gov
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://www.familydoctor.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Benefits Program—Veteran Affairs Canada
http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca

References:

About VA health benefits. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: https://www.va.gov/health-care/about-va-health-benefits. Updated October 15, 2021.
Health benefits. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: https://www.va.gov/health-care. Accessed October 15, 2021.
VA priority groups. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/priority-groups. Updated October 15, 2021.
Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 10/15/2021

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