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The Affordable Care Act, VA, and You


Fact Sheet: What You Should Know about VA Health Care & the Affordable Care Act

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care law, was created to expand access to affordable health care coverage to all Americans, lower costs, and improve quality and care coordination. Under the health care law, people will have:

  • health coverage that meets a minimum standard (called “minimum essential coverage”);
  • qualify for an exemption; or
  • pay a fee when filing their taxes if they have affordable options but remain uninsured.

The Health Insurance Marketplace helps individuals find health coverage. On the Marketplace, some people may be eligible for lower costs on premiums and out-of-pocket costs based on their income.  The 2021 Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period is November 1, 2021, through December 15, 2021.

At a glance

  • VA wants all Veterans to get health care that improves their health and well-being.
  • If you are enrolled in VA health care, you don’t need to take additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standards.
  • The health care law does not change VA health benefits or Veterans’ out-of-pocket costs.
  • If you are not enrolled in VA health care, you can apply at any time.

If I’m enrolled in a VA health care program, do I meet the requirement for health care coverage?

Yes. If you are enrolled in any of VA’s programs below, you have coverage under the standards of the health care law:

  • Veteran’s health care program
  • Civilian Health and Medical program (CHAMPVA)
  • Spina bifida health care program

What are the benefits of VA health care programs?

  • Medical care rated among the best in the U.S.
  • Immediate benefits of health care coverage. Veterans may apply for VA health care enrollment at any time.
  • No enrollment fee, monthly premiums, or deductibles. Most Veterans have no out-of- pocket costs. Some Veterans may have to pay small copayments for health care or prescription drugs.
  • More than 1,500 places available to get your care. This means your coverage can go with you if you travel or move.
  • Freedom to use other plans with your VA health care, including Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE or private insurance.
  • You have met the new requirement to have health care coverage.

Does VA report my coverage to the IRS?

The Affordable Care Act requires most U.S. taxpayers to declare they have minimum essential health coverage on their federal tax form.   In December, VA will begin a mailed letter effort to notify all enrollees and beneficiaries of their VA health care coverage period in 2020. Included with the letter will be IRS Form 1095-B, “Health Coverage,” which details VA health care coverage in 2020.  Veterans and beneficiaries should use this form to complete the 2020 income tax forms.  The law also requires VA to provide this information to the Internal Revenue Service.  Mailings are expected to be completed by the end of March 2021. For more information, visit

If I’m not enrolled in a VA health care program, how can I apply?

You can apply for VA health care at any time by visiting, calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visiting your local VA health care facility.

Where can I get more information?

Visit VA’s website at, or call us at 1-877-222-VETS (8387) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Eastern.  For more information about the Marketplace, visit

For More Information

1-877-222-VETS (8387)
8 am to 8 pm ET Mon-Fri

Find out if you're eligible: Health Benefits Explorer
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