Your health care costs
We’re committed to providing free health care for conditions related to military service and for Veterans with catastrophic disabilities and disability ratings of at least 50%. We’re also committed to caring for Veterans who can’t afford to pay for care. Learn more about how we’ll determine if you’ll need to pay for any part of your care.
Can I get free VA health care as a Veteran?
You can get free VA health care for any illness or injury that we determine is connected to your military service (called a “service-connected disability”).
We also provide certain other services for free:
- Readjustment counseling
Learn about free readjustment counseling on our Vet Centers website
- Other mental health services
Find out how to get mental health care
- Care for issues related to military sexual trauma (MST)
Learn more about services for military sexual trauma
- A registry health exam to determine if you’re at risk of health problems linked to your military service
Explore health issues related to service history
- Other services
Review more services we provide at no cost
You may also be eligible for more free VA health care based on factors like your disability rating, service history, or income. Or you may be eligible for care but need to pay a fixed amount (called a “copay”) for some types of care, tests, and medications to treat conditions that aren’t connected to your service.
How does VA decide if I’ll pay copays for non-service-connected care?
Whether or not you’ll need to pay copays—and how much you’ll pay—depends on which of our 8 priority groups we assign you to when you enroll in VA health care.
We assign Veterans with service-connected disabilities the highest priority. We assign the lowest priority to Veterans who earn a higher income and who don’t have any service-connected disabilities that make them eligible for VA disability compensation.
Example: If you have a VA service-connected disability rating of 50%, if we’ve determined that you can’t work because of your disability, or if you’ve received a Medal of Honor, we’ll assign you to priority group 1. You won’t pay copays for any types of care, tests, or medications.
How does my income affect my VA health care costs?
Some Veterans are eligible for free care for non-service-connected conditions based on their VA disability rating, pension payments, or other factors (like receiving the Medal of Honor).
If you’re not eligible for free care based on these factors, you may be eligible based on your income.
We’ll ask you for information about your household’s income as part of the enrollment process. And we’ll ask you to keep your income information up to date after you enroll. If your household income falls below our current income limits for where you live, you may be eligible for free or reduced cost care.
More information about when to provide income information
We ask about your income and certain expenses when you apply for VA health care. Whether or not you should provide this information depends on your situation:
- If you qualify for VA health care enhanced eligibility status, you don’t have to provide your income information.
Review the requirements for enhanced eligibility status
- If you’re a recent combat Veteran, you don’t have to provide your income information to be eligible for 10 years of free care for any condition connected to your service. You can still provide your income to help us determine if you’re eligible for a higher priority group, beneficiary travel pay, or free care for conditions not connected to your service.
Learn more about eligibility for transitioning active-duty service members and recent combat Veterans
If you were exposed to Agent Orange, burn pits, or ionizing radiation in certain locations and time periods, you don’t have to provide your income information to qualify for free care for any condition connected to your exposure. You can still provide your income to help us determine if you’re eligible for a higher priority group, beneficiary travel pay, or free care for conditions not connected to your service.
Learn more about hazardous exposures
- If you don’t qualify for enhanced eligibility status, but you agree to pay copays for your care, you don’t have to provide your income information. But if you don’t, we may decline your enrollment. We also won’t be able to consider your eligibility for free medications or beneficiary travel pay.
When to update your information depends on your situation:
- If you completed a financial assessment to find out if you were eligible for cost-free medications or for beneficiary travel pay (but not for free VA health care), you’ll need to provide updated income information each year.
- If we determine you’re eligible for free VA health care because your household income falls below our income limit, you don’t have to provide updated income information each year.
We’ll also receive your income information from the IRS and the SSA each year to confirm that you’re still eligible for free VA health care. We’ll contact you only if this information changes your eligibility or copay requirements. If you disagree with the information, you can keep using VA health care services while we review your situation.
Even when not required, we encourage you to report changes in your income. We also encourage you to tell us about changes to your personal and contact information.