V.A. Medical Benefits

friends in the navy

If you're caring for a veteran, it's well worth looking into whether he or she qualifies for Veterans Administration (VA) medical benefits. While Medicare is a tremendously effective program, it still leaves up to half of an older adult's healthcare costs unpaid. It doesn't cover some services and supplies, and its deductibles and co-payments are hefty. For eligible veterans, however, veterans medical benefits can be one way to cover these unpaid expenses.

Some veterans qualify for both. Even if he's also enrolled in Medicare, your family member may qualify for the wide range of free or low-cost healthcare benefits provided by the VA. The VA provides healthcare through its own hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, pharmacies, and doctors nationwide.

A veteran eligible for care can receive it from any VA doctor or facility, but not all VA healthcare benefits are available to all veterans. The VA maintains a priority system, with the most benefits going to those with the greatest health or financial need.

Benefits of VA healthcare

With VA healthcare, your friend or relative might receive a number of healthcare-related services that Medicare doesn't cover, including:

  • Physical exams and other preventive care
  • Dental care
  • Long-term in-home care
  • Long-term nursing home residential care

Another reason to choose VA care over Medicare-covered care can be cost. VA co-payments and deductibles are generally lower than Medicare's, including for prescription drugs.

Who qualifies for VA medical benefits?

Who qualifies for veterans medical benefits can be complex, so the older adult you're caring for may need your help and encouragement throughout the application process.

Veterans medical benefits are determined by a priority system. Anyone who served on active duty in the military may be eligible for at least some VA healthcare benefits. Someone who was in the reserves or National Guard may also qualify if he was called up for active duty.

But the VA health system can't provide full care for all veterans. So the VA has set up a complicated priority system to determine veterans' benefits and out-of-pocket costs. The system divides veterans into eight groups, with the highest-priority groups eligible for the most services at the lowest costs.

The priority groups are based on service-connected disability, other disability, and income. Veterans with severe service-connected disabilities get the broadest coverage; veterans with less severe service-connected disabilities, or other disabilities combined with low income, are given midlevel priority; veterans without disability or low income get the least VA care.

How to apply for VA medical benefits

Before you can find out what veterans medical benefits an older adult might be eligible for, he has to formally enroll with the VA The VA will then decide what priority group the veteran will be placed in and therefore which healthcare services he can obtain. Enrollment is free.

You can help your veteran apply by obtaining an Application for Health Benefits form (VA Form 10-10EZ), available online. Or you can call the VA toll-free at 877-222-8387 and ask for a form to be mailed. To learn more about eligibility for veterans medical benefits, visit the healthcare pages on the VA website.


6 days ago, said...

The veterans administration should treat all veterans equal. The category system discriminates.


2 months ago, said...

I'm looking to find out about what kind of funeral arrangements. My dad was in the army.


7 months ago, said...

I served 16 yrs AD Army 71-87. diagnosed with "ill defined disease of central nervous system " at WRAMC in 78. Now that same diesease is disgnosed as Lambert-Eaton Myasthenia Syndrome, no cure, rear 1/1 million. Should be service connected. How do I proceed.


9 months ago, said...

I am a priority 2 veteran and just diagnosed with mesothelioma. I am trying to find somewhere a breakdown on healthcare and health benefits for priority 2


about 1 year ago, said...

My father is a Veteran and is in need of a walker. Can I get this through the VA? If yes, how to I go about doing this?


over 1 year ago, said...

If my insurance denies an extremely expensive drug for me would I be able to get that drug through the VA?


over 1 year ago, said...

I spent 3 1/2 years in the US Army from 75 - 79. I wasn't aware of the wage cap that was put on in getting VA benefits. I haven't had any medical problems since getting out but because of my age I thought I would enroll just in case. Nope, declined! I make too much money. Getting the benefits was one of the reasons I enlisted. What a rip off! I know of two healthy fellow co workers that didn't know that they could get benefits either but because they were in or near Vietnam they applied and not only got free medical benefits but they were back payed over $2000 dollars a month for several years and receive several hundred dollars a month for life! What the heck!?


almost 2 years ago, said...

Nearly all Veterans will have a financial obligation to the VA. The "copays" are based on your Service Connected Injuries or Illnesses ALONG WITH your ability to pay copays; based on your income. The VA used to trust that the veterans accurately reported their income; but that has allowed the VA to become $3 billion dollars in debt. The veterans have no choice now in honest reporting because the VA uses SS, IRS and tax refunds to gauge their income. There is no such thing as FREE HEALTH CARE. The only vets who do NOT pay are 100% SC, POW's and other special categories. Your recruiter stated health care; if they said FREE it was the Department of Defense who lied NOT the VA. Choice is a mess because of Congress. They knee-jerked reacted to the Phoenix fiasco without properly contracting the Choice service out, without training the VA staff, and because veterans do not pay attention to the rules and policies of the Plan. IT IS NOT FREE; if you have a VA co-pay you will have a Choice copay. It is for those who 1) can't get an appointment in less than 30 days and/or those who live over 40 miles away. The Choice Program has put an undue strain on the entire VA staff; remember staff? Those people employed to HELP you; not be harassed by you because Congress messed this up.


almost 2 years ago, said...

Your VA Inpatient copay rates are vastly out of date. For 2015 it is $1260.00


over 2 years ago, said...

Veterans Choice now exist. I received the card but it does not work. To add to the long wait times the new sec of va has opened the system to vets no matter their income. I wait 3-4 months to see pcp. Then if i need to c ortho doc or othet specialisy i could wait months for that appointment. The system was broken b4 now it is just useless. I had to buy insurance policy so i can go elsewhere. I am about to lose part of my hand because of the chaos in the va system. Prob now since the increase in patients because of the sec of va generosity the wait time for appointment will increase. All this being blamed on vha. In houston the problems r caused by vba!! The houston varo just plain "sucks"!! But bottom line is the new sec is all mouth. Nothing he has done esp. Vets Choice Card is useless. To me it is all just 1 big failure. Oh well i am out. Absolutely a shame that i have to pay for injuries i got on active duty!! my recommendation do not join military esp army. Never thought i would say this but being treated worse than a convicted felon opened my eyes.


over 2 years ago, said...

i'm already in the VA Syatem and get care at the Auburn, CA outpatient clinic. I'm very satisfied with the care I receive.


almost 3 years ago, said...

Where can I get help being reimbursed for fee based medication I am being given the run around patient advocate is no help there certainly must be some where to receive assistance with this.


almost 3 years ago, said...

i'am a 100 percent disable veteran do I need to get medicare


about 3 years ago, said...

need help Please. Have outside Doctor who I have been seeing for 10 Years. Need VA To now fill prescription or outsource me to local Doctor I have been seeing. How do I maoe this happen?


about 3 years ago, said...

I think it is unfair that a 7 year 9 month US Navy Veteran cannot at least get his drugs through the VA system in order to save on co-pays. We do not means test SS payments but we means test veterans who just happen to have skills and make a good wage. My co-pays range from $10-$40 per script and while trying to send a child to college any help would be appreciated.


about 3 years ago, said...

Will the V.A. honor a prescription from a privTe Doctor if I bri g it in.. I am a priority 5 veteran..I also have Medicare..


about 3 years ago, said...

Can spouses of a veteran attend doctors appointments?


over 3 years ago, said...

Served in Navy for 3 years watching submarines from aircraft. Never in battle, didnt win a purple heart, and was told by my recruiter that I would receive health care coverage for the rest of my life. A promise by the government. Now I find out that was a lie. Now I have to prove my income to apply for what is rightfully my benefits. I have two disabled kids to take care of, but they wont consider that. I should have gone to Nam with others but the navy said I had aptitude for other things.


over 3 years ago, said...

Served in USMC as reservist from 1967 through 1973. Active duty training in 1967 and 1968. Not called up at all. I have been diagnosed with MDS and my Medicare and supplement plan are paying for the treatment but there may be prescription drugs that will be required that my drug plan will not pick up in total. Do I enroll and role the dice as to the balance of drugs not paid would be by my enrolling or should I not even try?


almost 4 years ago, said...

Like to welcome our vets to OPERATION BACKBONE, Brain & Spine Surgery around the world for soldiers. the site link is, www.operationbackbone.com


almost 4 years ago, said...

Retired from US Navy in 1975. (20 yrs). Signed up with VA in past few years. Was put in 8G category, without a medical exam. Navy medical record does not show aircraft accident in 1961, shark bite and PTDS, which was then unknown (1961). Just want coverage for hearing aids. Why no physical evaul ?? Does Threshold limits have bearing? Retired E-6 that sure as Hell ain't rich !!


almost 4 years ago, said...

I only need information about acquiring hearing aids for my Viet Nam vet husband.


about 4 years ago, said...

Got excellentt care at the portland va medical facility.had surgery april 8th, everthing was taken care of.the doctors, nurses, and everyone on the surgical team was first rate.


over 4 years ago, said...

i am a vietnam widow, is there a health insurance i can apply for


over 4 years ago, said...

can i receive va benifets with stage 2 kidney diease?