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Healthcare Coverage Options for Military Veterans

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Veteran benefits

Last Updated on March 22, 2022 by ashley.davis

Introduction

There’s a lot to think about for yourself and your family as you prepare to leave the army. One of the most important topics of discussion is Healthcare Coverage Options for Veterans. 

According to the recent 2020 US Census, about 17.4 million military personnel are retired and live as proud veterans of the country as of today. Among them, more than 25% veterans rely on Veteran Affairs (VA) for healthcare insurance coverage. Additionally, more than 75% of US veterans have multiple medical insurance coverages to access healthcare services opportunities after retirement. (Source: US Census report

The US government tremendously values military veterans and their dependents through different healthcare plans and insurance programs. Yet, many veterans know little about the benefits they can avail for lack of information and resources. So, it’s crucial to start planning now before you retire and everything becomes a stress in your life. 

veteran benefits
Veteran Demographic

Military Veterans and Their Families Have Access to Different Medical Care Benefits 

The department of Veteran Affairs (VA) provides medical care benefits to military veterans and their families. The medical benefits available for retired veterans comprehensively cover primary care, diagnostics, and inpatient and outpatient care services. And enrolled military veteran might also be eligible for dental care facilities under the medical care coverage.  

As an eligible military veteran for medical benefits, you will get access to special care support too. This includes dental care, mental health care services, and any other basic medical benefits.  

Under the mental healthcare program, you can get services for any general mental health problems as well as unique issues to your case. For instance, you can get treatment for substance abuse, post-retirement stress disorder, military sexual harassment and abuse, and any other severe mental illness.  

In addition to this, the dental care support for military veterans include outpatient dental services. You can get a diagnostic of your full spectrum, and any surgical or preventive procedures to your teeth.  

The TRICARE program 

Many former military veterans and their families are covered via TRICARE, an extensive veteran health care program. On the TRICARE Health Options page, there are 11 health insurance plans to choose from. Active duty service members, for example, must join in one of four TRICARE plans. In contrast, retired service members and their families can register in any one of four TRICARE plans and the US Family Health Plan, depending on where they live. TRICARE also includes dental and vision benefits. 

VA Health Care 

According to the VA website, veterans with VA health care can receive services such as regular examinations, appointments with special practitioners like cardiologists, mental healthcare professionals, and gynecologists, and home care treatments. Regular checkups with your primary doctors are covered under VA health care. VA health care allows you to acquire medical equipment, prostheses, and medicines from the Veterans Administration and home health and geriatric (elder) care. 

Medicare 

Medicare, a federal health insurance program, is for veterans aged 65 or older. Even younger veterans with disabilities can seek Medicare support for healthcare benefits. This program enables veterans to cover healthcare costs across 4 different Medicare coverages. Check out our guide to Medicare benefits to find out more about this beneficial program. 

CHAMPVA: Health Insurance for Military Veterans and their Families 

The Health Care Benefits for Dependents is also provided by the VA under the CHAMPVA program that shares the medical benefits with any eligible beneficiaries of a military veteran. CHAMPVA is a The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs that similar to TRICARE but offered by the VA. 

Your dependent is only eligible for CHAMPVA if they are not eligible for TRICARE or CHAMPUS. There are other eligibility criteria as well that includes: 

  • Dependent child of a service-related disabled veteran 
  • Surviving spouse or child of a deceased veteran  
  • Surviving spouse or child of a veteran who died during service  

Choosing the Post-Military Healthcare Coverage for Veterans 

As you have seen by now, there are several healthcare insurance options available for military veterans, their families, and dependents. However, you will need to be aware of the costs before enrolling for any of the benefit programs. The Federal Reserve survey has shown us that around 40% Americans end up incurring a debt when covering a $400 insurance bill. Thus, ask the following 4 questions before you select a veterans healthcare program. 

What are the health care needs you have? 

A single veteran has different needs than a married veteran with children. Children require more extensive medical attention, although young adults may need less. Consider whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions that veteran healthcare benefits could cover. 

Which healthcare plan do you qualify for? 

Each healthcare options listed in the article will provide different benefits to you. As a result, they also have their own rules and standards. Do you qualify perfectly for any of the benefits? Evaluate your eligibility first before diving into any of the healthcare for vets options. 

Which healthcare plan makes the most financial sense? 

Finally, don’t forget to test and compare various plans’ upfront prices and deductibles. Make sure that you don’t make a decision based purely on cost. Instead, assess your needs and make sure the plan you choose provides enough coverage. 

How does Veterans Health Administration differ from VA benefits? 

So, you have 2 central option in your hand. One is the Veteran Health Administration (VHA) and the other one is the VA benefits. Firstly, the VHA provides healthcare support for retired military personnel. On the other hand, VA benefits are insurance programs to cover healthcare expenses. 

Medical care is the main priority of the VA. But this depends on several factors, including your income, service in the military, and disability status. The VA would be able to help you if you have a service-related disability that requires ongoing care. 

Terms for Post-Military Health Insurance Costs

Get to know the terms below as you learn new healthcare insurance lingo. They all refer to charges that you will be accountable for.

Premiums

This is the monthly premium you’ll pay for your insurance.

Deductibles

A deductible is a fee you must pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage comes in. Your insurance takes over once you’ve paid your deductible. Consider the following scenario: you have a $2,000 deductible and a $10,000 operation. You’d be responsible for $2,000, while insurance would cover the rest. You usually only have to pay for co-insurance or co-pays after you’ve met your deductible.

Co-Pays and Co-Insurance

These fees are paid at the time of service, such as a $20 co-pay for a doctor’s appointment.

Out-Of-Pocket Maximum

Aside from your premiums and any undisclosed charges, this is the most you’ll pay in a single insurance year.

Retiring vs. Resigning: Why It Matters

You won’t be eligible for TRICARE if you’re leaving the military. However, as a civilian, you’ll be able to buy health insurance.

You’ll be eligible for TRICARE only if you retire. “The advice is quite straightforward,” Scaturro explains. “Enroll in TRICARE if you have access to physicians who accept it.” Why? The costs are low, as are the premiums and deductibles.

TRICARE should be accepted by any provider who accepts Medicare. Make sure any providers you plan to see accept it by contacting them. There may be fewer doctors in rural places. To find a doctor who accepts TRICARE, you may have to travel a long distance.

If you don’t want to travel and don’t have TRICARE providers in your region, you’ll need to seek health insurance through your workplace, the federal healthcare.gov marketplace, or a commercial market like USAA.

When you leave your military health insurance, you and your family have several temporary options. TRICARE provides a variety of short-term health insurance, including:

Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP)

When you lose TRICARE, the CHCBP is a premium-based plan that covers you for 18 to 36 months.

Extended Care Health Option (ECHO)

ECHO provides assistance to qualifying individuals with special needs.

Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP)

After regular TRICARE benefits expire, TAMP provides transitional health care benefits.

Begin planning for your post-military health insurance as soon as possible. Consider talking with the experienced personnel who can assist you with the transfer at your post or base. They are invaluable resources who can assist you in making the best option possible for your situation.

Healthcare Coverage Options for Veterans
Veteran Benefits to Know About

Not Meeting the Veterans Coverage Requirements 

Being enrolled in any of the veteran insurance benefits available for you and your family means you fulfil the requirements. But what happens when you are not fulfilling the requirements, and thus, not being able to enroll in any of the programs?  

If you don’t have veterans coverage for yourself

Suppose you’re a veteran who isn’t covered by VA benefits or other types of veteran health care. There are several coverages available at the veteran Health Insurance Marketplace. This is determined by the size and income of your household. You might be able to get lower monthly rates and lower out-of-pocket costs with private insurance. You may also be qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), both of which offer free or low-cost health care. 

If you don’t have coverage for your dependents

Another thing of concern is having dependents who require assistance but don’t fulfil the eligibilities of VA healthcare. Nothing to worry as they too can get coverage from the marketplace insurance options. Here, the coverage benefits also depend on the overall household size and income. If they are low, your spouse and child can get benefits like lower monthly rates and out-of-pocket insurance premiums.  

Conclusion

Healthcare Coverage Options for Veterans is crucial. There are quite a few programs to look into that can help you and your dependent family members out. Veterans are an important part of our society. And so, there are several veteran benefits available for you that you can find out from our guide.  

At BoomersHub, we value the services our military veterans have gone through for our beloved nation. Thus, we provide guidance and resources for veteran assisted living benefits, veteran nursing care benefits, and other care type services. We are dedicated to serve you as soon as you require them.

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