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Veterans Benefits Under ObamaCare

Here's what you need to know...
  • If you are currently enrolled in a veterans’ benefit program, you don’t need to change anything to comply with ObamaCare.
  • If you are not enrolled in a veterans’ benefit program and are eligible, you can apply for the program.
  • Certain family members of veterans are also eligible for veterans’ benefits.
  • Under ObamaCare, you may be required to pay a fee if you don’t obtain insurance despite having affordable options.

The adoption of ObamaCare has not changed the basic elements of veterans’ benefits. The law requires most people to have health insurance, but most veterans have always been eligible to receive benefits. If you or a family member is not currently insured, you should compare your options to determine what plan might make the most sense. Compare health insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

The Basics of ObamaCare

After the passage of ObamaCare, the insurance options for many Americans expanded. The law mandates that Americans be insured by a plan that includes essential benefits.

The essential benefits are:

  • Outpatient care
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Mental health services and substance abuse treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative services
  • Preventive services
  • Pediatric services
  • Maternity services

Veterans’ health coverage and TRICARE health insurance include all of these essential benefits.

What happens if you do not have insurance?

Some people may qualify for an exemption. They include:

  • People with incomes below a certain threshold.
  • Citizens living abroad.
  • People who were not insured for three months or less in a given year.
  • People who experienced some sort of hardship.

If you do not qualify for an exemption and are not insured, you will have to pay either a flat fee or a percentage of your income above a certain threshold.

If You are Enrolled in a Veterans’ Benefit Program

You do not need to change anything. You may be enrolled in the VA health program, the Civilian Health, and Medical program (CHAMPVA), or the spina bifida health care program.

If You are Not Enrolled in a Veterans’ Benefit Program

You can apply for one of the programs at any time. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can start to take advantage of access to care that’s specifically designed for veterans. Many veterans are not required to pay a co-pay for certain types of services, and other veterans are only asked to pay a minimal co-pay. Additionally, there is no annual premium for a VA health care program.

What if I am not eligible to receive veterans’ benefits?

Some people who have served in the armed forces are not eligible to receive veterans’ benefits. This group of former soldiers includes those who:

  • Were dishonorably discharged
  • Did not complete their full period of active duty

If you can’t receive benefits through a veterans’ program, you can apply for health insurance through the Marketplace.

On the Marketplace, you can find several different choices, some plans may have higher premiums and lower copays while others may have lower premiums and higher copays.

It’s a good idea to set aside time to review your available options. You can determine which plans may be a good fit given your current budget and your projected health care costs, understanding that emergencies and other health conditions could arise at any time. If your income is below a certain threshold, you can apply to receive health insurance through the Medicaid program. Each state’s eligibility requirements are different.

What about family members?

Some family members of veterans are eligible to receive health care benefits through a veterans’ program:

Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA): The CHAMPVA program allows surviving spouses and children of certain veterans to receive benefits. The veteran may have died on active duty, may have died of a disability related to his or her service, or may have been considered permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability or condition.

Children of Women Vietnam Veterans (CWVV) Program: The CWVV program gives benefits to children with certain birth defects born to women Vietnam War veterans.

Spina Bifida Healthcare Program: This program gives benefits to Korean War Veterans’ children who have been diagnosed with spina bifida.

Caregiver Program: Some primary caregivers of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans may receive access to healthcare coverage if they cannot otherwise attain it through a group program such as Medicaid or Medicare.

If I qualify, do I have to use veterans’ health care?

Veterans have the option of using veterans’ health care facilities and veterans’ insurance plans. While these are usually low-cost, high-quality options, they are not required.

People can seek alternative insurance coverage from an employer or as an individual on the Marketplace. Since there are numerous types of plans available when purchasing health insurance, some time should be spent comparing the advantages and disadvantages of plans that fit within one’s budget.

The Veterans’ Choice Program

The government realizes that many veterans do not live within an easy drive of a Veterans’ Administration health care facility. People who are enrolled in a VA health care program but live more than 40 miles away from a VA medical care facility may be eligible for the Veterans’ Choice Program. Also eligible are veterans who have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment.

In this program, veterans can receive care in their local community from participating providers, and this provides a practical solution for veterans who need immediate care.

While ObamaCare did change the healthcare law regarding insurance, most veterans remain unaffected by it. People who receive health care through a veterans’ program are in compliance with the law, and those who are not currently insured can apply for a program. If they’re not eligible to receive veterans’ benefits, they can seek coverage through the Marketplace after shopping around for the most optimal package. Enter your zip code in our FREE tool below to compare health insurance rates now!

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