Active Duty Servicemembers
Active Duty Servicemembers who have received their separation and/or retirement orders may apply for enrollment in VA health care system. Eligible, servicemembers become enrolled upon separation or retirement.
Transitioning from TRICARE to VA Health Care
When service members leave active duty, they may be eligible for benefits offered by TRICARE and the VA, depending whether they retire or how they separate from the military. A retiring, service member is eligible for TRICARE as a military retiree and may also be eligible for certain VA health care benefits. Service members who separate due to a service-connected disease or injury may be eligible for VA health care benefits as well as certain TRICARE benefits.
OEF/OIF/OND combat Veterans can receive cost free medical care for any condition related to their service in the Iraq/Afghanistan theater for five years after the date of their discharge or release. In order to take advantage of these benefits, OEF/OIF/OND Vets need to enroll in VA's health care system. Veterans can apply telephonically by dialing 1-877-222-VETS (8387), 8 am to 8 pm Mon-Fri, EST. or apply online using VA Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits. No signature is required.
A service member in the process of being medically retired can find out if he or she qualifies for VA health benefits for a service-connected injury by consulting with a VA benefit counselor. The VA benefit counselor will assist them in submitting a health benefits application and determining what their military and VA medical board ratings mean with respect to health care coverage. Veterans who qualify for VA health benefits usually receive care for their service-connected injury at the VA.
Although medically-retired Veterans receive care for their service-connected disability at the VA, they may be eligible to receive all other care through TRICARE. Under their TRICARE benefits, they may have a choice between TRICARE Prime, Standard and Extra. Their eligible family members also have the same options.
To learn more about transitioning to VA health benefits, contact VA at 877-222-VETS or visit the TRICARE to VA website.
For information about TRICARE-covered services, they should contact their TRICARE regional contractor. Regional contractor contact information can be found at the TRICARE website.
Using VA Health Care while on Active Duty
Active Duty Servicemembers
Under certain circumstances, active duty service members may receive limited VA health benefits and health care services at VA medical centers through sharing agreements.
VA health care services are provided to Active Duty and Reserve Component (RC) Servicemembers under the following circumstances:
Emergent or Urgent Care
When active duty Servicemembers needing urgent or emergent medical care, seek care from VA, treatment is provided first and authorization is obtained once the active duty Servicemember has been stabilized.
VA will only provide routine care to Active Duty Servicemembers with a valid TRICARE referral or authorization.
VA/DOD Sharing Agreement
Certain locations have sharing agreements that allow certain services to be performed without referrals. Contact your local Military Treating Facility (MTF) or TRICARE office for more information.