Medical Benefits Package
Your comprehensive VA Health Benefits package includes all the necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to promote, preserve or restore your health. VA medical facilities provide a wide range of services, including traditional hospital-based services, such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology and physical therapy.
In addition, most of our medical facilities offer additional medical and surgical specialty services, including audiology & speech pathology, dermatology, dental, geriatrics, neurology, oncology, podiatry, prosthetics, urology and vision care. Some medical centers also offer advanced services, such as organ transplants and plastic surgery.
Preventive Care Services
- Physical Examinations (including eye and hearing examinations)
- Health Care Assessments
- Screening Tests
- Health Education Programs
Ambulatory (Outpatient) Diagnostic and Treatment Services
- Primary and Specialty Care
- Surgical (including reconstructive/plastic surgery as a result of disease or trauma)
- Mental Health
- Substance Abuse
Hospital (Inpatient) Diagnostic and Treatment Services
- Surgical (including reconstructive/plastic surgery as a result of disease or trauma)
- Mental Health
- Substance Abuse
- Prescription Drugs (when prescribed by a VA physician)
Meeting Women Veterans' Unique Needs
Our staff delivers the highest quality health care in a setting that ensures privacy, dignity, and sensitivity. Your local VA facility offers a variety of services, including:
- Women’s gender-specific health
- Screening and disease prevention
- Routine gynecologic services
Female Veterans are potentially eligible to receive care provided in the community when authorized by VA; however, the decision to use such care is left to the facility providing your care. By law, purchased care can only be provided when your treating facility cannot provide you the care you require or because of geographical inaccessibility.
Contact your local VA facility’s Women Veterans Program Manager for more information on available services, or call 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636).
Available Long-Term Care Services
The following is a list of standard benefits. For more information on Extended Care Services and Geriatrics, visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits/access/geriatrics.asp.
VA Community Living Centers (VA Nursing Home) Programs
While some Veterans qualify for indefinite Community Living Center (formerly known as nursing home care) services, other Veterans may qualify for a limited period of time.
Domiciliary care provides rehabilitative and long-term, health maintenance care for Veterans who require some medical care, but who do not require all the services provided in nursing homes. Domiciliary care emphasizes rehabilitation and return to the community.
Medical Foster Home
Medical Foster Homes are private homes in which a trained caregiver provides services to a few individuals. Some, but not all, residents are Veterans. VA inspects and approves all Medical Foster Homes. Contact your VA social worker or case manager for more information on Medical Foster Home care.
State Veterans Homes
State Veterans Homes are facilities that provide nursing home, domiciliary or adult day care. Each state establishes eligibility and admission criteria for its homes. For more information about your State Veterans Home, contact the Veterans home directly or Social Work Service at your local VA facility.
Geriatric evaluation is the comprehensive assessment of a Veteran’s ability to care for him/herself, his/her physical health and social environment, which leads to a plan of care. The plan could include treatment, rehabilitation, health promotion and social services. These evaluations are performed by inpatient Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) units, GEM clinics, geriatric primary care clinics and other outpatient settings.
Geriatrics and Extended Care
Geriatrics and Extended Care provides services for Veterans who are elderly and have complex needs, and Veterans of any age who need daily support and assistance. Veterans can receive care at home, at VA medical centers or in the community.
Adult Day Health Care
Adult Day Health Care is a program Veterans can go to during the day for social activities, peer support, companionship and recreation. The program is for Veterans who need skilled services, case management and help with activities of daily living (such as bathing, getting dressed and preparing meals). Adult Day Health Care can provide respite care for a family caregiver and can help Veterans and their caregivers gain skills to manage the Veterans’ care at home.
Respite Care is a service that pays for a person to come to a Veteran’s home or for the Veteran to be cared for in a care facility while his or her family caregiver takes a break. Respite Care services may be available up to 30 days each calendar year.
Home Health Care
Home Health Care includes VA’s Skilled Home Health Care Services (SHHC), Homemaker and Home Health Aide Services (H/HHA) and Family Caregivers Program. For more information on these programs, visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits/access/home_health_care.asp.
SHHC is a short-term health care service that can be provided to Veterans if they are homebound or live far away from VA. The care is delivered by a community-based home health agency that has a contract with VA. The services of an H/HHA can help Veterans remain living in their own home and can serve Veterans of any age.
VA’s Family Caregivers Program provides support and assistance to caregivers of Post-9/11 Veterans and Servicemembers who are being medically discharged. Eligible primary family caregivers can receive a stipend, training, mental health services, travel and lodging reimbursement and access to health insurance if they are not already under a health care plan. For more information, contact your local VA medical facility and speak with a caregiver support coordinator, visit www.caregiver.va.gov or call toll-free at 1-877-222- VETS (8387) Monday - Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET.
VA’s Home Telehealth, also known as Care Coordination/Home Telehealth, is a service that allows the Veteran’s physician or nurse to monitor the Veteran’s medical condition remotely using monitoring equipment. Veterans can be referred to a care coordinator for Home Telehealth services by any member of their care team. The Home Telehealth program aims to make the patient’s home the preferred place to receive care, whenever possible.
Hospice/palliative care is comfort-based care for Veterans who have a terminal condition with six months or less to live. Hospice care provides treatment that relieves suffering and helps to control symptoms in a way that respects your personal, cultural and religious beliefs and practices. Hospice also provides grief counseling to your family.
There are no copayments for hospice care provided in any setting.
Some Veterans receive Free Long-Term Care Services
Veterans who are not automatically exempt from making copayments for long-term care services (see “Copays” on page 11) must complete VA Form 10-10EC, “Application for Extended Care Services,” to determine whether they qualify for cost-free services or to what extent they are required to make long- term care copayments. Unlike copayments for other VA health care services, which are based on fixed charges, long-term care copay charges are adjusted based on each Veteran’s financial status.
Benefits with Special Eligibility Criteria
While all enrolled Veterans enjoy access to VA’s comprehensive medical benefits package, certain benefits may vary depending on each Veteran’s unique eligibility status. The following care services (partial listing) have limitations and may have special eligibility criteria:
- Ambulance Services
- Dental Care
- Non-VA Health Care Services
Hearing Aids and Eyeglasses
Hearing aids, contact lenses and eyeglasses may be provided to the following enrolled Veterans as authorized in 38 CFR, provided they receive VA care or services:
- Veterans with any compensable, service-connected disability
- Former Prisoners of War (POWs)
- Veterans awarded a Purple Heart
- Veterans in receipt of benefits under 38 USC 1151 (such as benefits for persons disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation)
- Veterans in receipt of increased pension based on the need for aid and attendance benefits or by reason of being permanently housebound
- Veterans who have a visual or hearing impairment resulting from the existence of another medical condition for which the Veteran is receiving VA care or which resulted from treatment of that medical condition
- Veterans with significant functional or cognitive impairment evidenced by deficiencies in activities of daily living (not including normally occurring visual or hearing impairments)
- Veterans with severe visual or hearing impairment and for whom hearing aids and/or eyeglasses are necessary to ensure their Veteran active participation in their own medical treatment
- Veterans with a 0% service-connected hearing disability
Highly Rural Transportation Grants
Highly Rural Transportation Grants (HRTG) is a grant-based program that helps Veterans in highly rural areas travel to VA or VA-authorized health care facilities. This program provides grant funding to Veteran Service Organizations and State Veterans Service Agencies to provide transportation services in eligible counties.
HRTG provides transportation programs in counties with fewer than seven people per square mile. There is no cost to participate in the program for Veterans who live in an area where HRTG is available. To see a list of current grantees and phone numbers to access transportation through each grantee, visit www.va.gov/HEALTHBENEFITS/vtp/highly_rural_transportation_grants.asp.
Additional VA Health Benefits Programs
Dependents and Survivors
CHAMPVA is a health care benefits program for:
- Dependents of Veterans who have been rated by VA as having a service-connected total and permanent disability
- Survivors of Veterans who died from VA-rated service-connected condition(s) or who, at the time of death, were rated permanently and totally disabled from a VA-rated service- connected condition(s)
- Survivors of persons who died in the line of duty, not due to misconduct, and who are not otherwise entitled to benefits under DoD’s TRICARE program
Children of Women Vietnam Veterans Health Care Benefits
Children of Women Vietnam Veterans is a program designed for women Vietnam Veterans’ birth children who are determined by the Veteran Benefits Administration to have one or more covered birth defects.
Children of Women Vietnam Veterans
Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits
Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits is a program designed for Vietnam and certain Korea Veterans’ birth children who are diagnosed with spina bifida (excluding spina bifida occulta) and who are in receipt of a Veteran Benefits Administration award for spina bifida benefits.
Spina Bifida Health Care
|Spina Bifida online|
A medical emergency is generally defined as a condition of such a nature that a sensible person would expect that a delay in seeking immediate medical attention would be hazardous to life or health.
You may receive emergency care at a non-VA health care facility, possibly at VA expense, when a VA facility (or other Federal health care facility with which VA has an agreement) cannot furnish efficient care due to your distance from the facility, or when VA is unable to furnish the needed emergency services.
VA Payment for Emergency Care of your Service-connected Conditions without Prior Authorization
Since payment may be limited to the point when your condition is stable enough for you to travel to a VA facility, you, a family member or friend need to contact the closest VA medical facility as soon as possible. The emergency is deemed to have ended when a VA provider has determined that, based on sound medical judgment, you could be transferred from the non-VA facility to a VA medical center.
VA may pay for your non-VA emergency care.
|If you are:||Then:|
VA may pay for your:
VA Payment for Emergency Care of your NonService-connected conditions without prior authorization
VA may pay for emergency care provided in a non-VA facility for treatment of a Non service-connected condition only if all of the following conditions are met:
|If you are:||Then:|
|Service-connected, not Permanently and Totally Disabled, or Nonservice-connected||
VA would like all Veterans to have access to good oral health care; however, VA is limited to providing dental benefits to those Veterans who meet certain eligibility criteria. To help Veterans who are not eligible for VA dental benefits or need more comprehensive dental care, VA offers enrolled Veterans and beneficiaries of CHAMPVA the opportunity to purchase dental insurance at a reduced cost through its VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP).
VADIP began as a pilot program that ended January 31, 2017. Public Law 114-218, “Department of Veterans Affairs Dental Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2016,” signed July 29, 2016, allows VA to continue VADIP for five years beyond the pilot program. Veterans who were enrolled in VADIP as of January 31, 2017, can automatically maintain that coverage until no later than January 31, 2018, depending on their plan. The process is underway to determine the dental insurance providers for the extended period. VA will announce the insurance providers and timelines for new enrollments as soon as the procurement process is complete.
For more information about this program, call toll free 1-877-222-VETS (8387) Monday - Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET or visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vadip.
Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line is a toll-free, confidential resource that connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders.
Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at www.vets.gov, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care.
The professionals at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping Veterans of all ages and circumstances — from Veterans coping with mental health issues that were never addressed to Veterans struggling with relationships or the transition back to civilian life.
Military Sexual Trauma
Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is the term VA uses to refer to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment occurring during a Veteran’s military service. VA has expanded eligibility for Veterans in need of mental health care due to sexual assault or sexual harassment to Reservists and National Guard members participating in weekend drill. Veterans can learn more about VA’s MST-related services online at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp.
In-/outpatient and Residential Services Available
VA provides free outpatient, inpatient and residential services to help Veterans recover from MST. MST services are available to both male and female Veterans without a limit to the duration of care. MST-related outpatient services are available at every VA health care facility. VA also has programs that offer specialized MST treatment in a residential or inpatient setting. These programs are for those who need more intense treatment and support.
Receive Free MST-Related Care
To receive free treatment related to MST, Veterans do not need a VA service-connected disability. Veterans do not need to have reported the incident when it happened or have other documentation that it occurred. There are no length-of-service requirements to receive care, and some Veterans may be able to receive free MST-related care even if they are not eligible for other VA care.
For more information, contact the MST coordinator at your nearest VA Medical Center or visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp. A list of VA and Vet Center facilities can be found online at www.va.gov/directory/.
Readjustment Counseling Services
VA provides free readjustment counseling and outreach services to Veterans who served in a theater of operations (combat zone) through community-based counseling centers, called Vet Centers. Services also are available for their family members regarding military-related issues. Vet Center staffs are available during normal business hours at toll-free 1-800-905-4675 ET and 1-866-496-8838 PT. For more information, visit www.vetcenter.va.gov.
VA has founded a National Call Center for Homeless Veterans who are homeless or at risk for homelessness have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors. The hotline is intended to assist homeless Veterans and their families, VA medical facilities, federal, state and local partners, community agencies, service providers and others in the community. To be connected with the Homeless Call Center, call toll free 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838).
Learn about VA homeless programs and mental health services in your area that can help you. For more information, visit www.va.gov/homeless.
The Caregivers Benefit Program provides certain medical, travel, training and financial benefits to caregivers of certain Veterans and Servicemembers who were seriously injured during their military service on or after September 11, 2001. Eligible primary family caregivers can receive a stipend, training, mental health services, travel and lodging reimbursement and access to health insurance if they are not already under a health care plan.
For more information, contact your local VA medical facility and speak with a caregiver support coordinator, visit www.caregiver.va.gov or call toll-free at 1-855-260-3274.
Benefits have been extended from August 1953 to December 1987.
From the 1950s through the 1980s, people living or working at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., may have been exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene and other chemicals.
Veterans who served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, may be eligible for cost-free medical care through VA for the following health conditions:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Rena toxicity
Veterans must still meet the criteria of a Veteran – minimum service time, character of discharge and serving in the active duty military, naval or sea service.
Camp Lejeune Veterans:
- Do not need to have one of the 15 health conditions to be eligible to receive VA health care, nor do they need a service-connected disability to be eligible as a Camp Lejeune Veteran
- Already enrolled in VA health care should contact their local VA health care facility to receive care under the law
- Who would otherwise not be eligible due to income limits are now eligible just from being at Camp Lejeune during that period of time
- Are eligible now, and should call 1-877-222-Vets (8387) for assistance
- Will eventually be placed in Priority Group 6 (unless eligible for a higher PG), but will be in the system as a PG 7 or PG 8 until system changes are implemented
- Do not pay copayments or third party billing for any of the 15 Camp Lejeune illnesses
Enrolled Veterans can receive any care provided in the medical benefits package but may pay a copayment or have third party billing for care not related to the 15 Camp Lejeune covered illnesses.
The Camp Lejeune Family Member Program (CLFMP) is designed for the family members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, who are determined by the VA to have one or more of the 15 Camp Lejeune covered illnesses.
VA will not provide care in VA facilities for the family members but will be the last payer of claims for care related to the 15 illnesses in the law. VA will reimburse family members for care for the 15 illnesses back to March 26, 2013.
Family members must complete an application for the program at https://www.clfamilymembers.fsc.va.gov and submit receipts for reimbursement. They are encouraged to keep receipts for out-of-pocket medical expenses of the 15 Camp Lejeune covered illnesses to submit with their claims.
For more information on eligibility, family members may contact the Department of Veterans Affairs, Financial Service Center, P.O. Box 149200, Austin, TX 78714-9200, call the toll-free CLFMP customer service line at 1-866-372-1144 or visit https://www.clfamilymembers.fsc.va.gov/.
For more information about Camp Lejeune historical water contamination and to sign up for updates, visit the Military Exposure section on the VHA Office of Public Health website www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures.
The U.S. Marine Corps encourages all those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune before 1987 to register to receive notifications regarding Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water at https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater.
VA recognizes Veterans who are visually impaired, elderly or immobilized due to disease or disability, and particularly those living in remote and rural areas who face challenges traveling to and from their VA health care facilities and authorized VA Community Care appointments to receive the care they have earned.
To provide these Veterans with the most convenient and timely access to transportation services, VA is establishing a network of community transportation service providers that could include Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs); community and commercial transportation providers; federal, state and local government transportation services and non-profit organizations, such as United We Ride.
Veterans who are eligible for VA health care benefits and have a VA-authorized appointment are eligible for transportation through the Veteran Transportation Service program based on the availability capabilities of transportation resources and local facility ridership guidelines. Veterans needing transportation for care can contact the Patient Travel Office at their local VAMC for more information.
Medically Related Travel Benefits
The Beneficiary Travel (BT) program reimburses eligible Veterans for costs incurred while traveling to and from VA health care facilities. The BT program may also provide pre-approved transportation solutions and arrange special mode transportation (SMT) at the request of VA. Veterans may be eligible for common carrier transportation (such as bus, taxi, airline or train) under certain conditions.
Veterans may qualify for mileage reimbursement or special mode transportation in relation to travel for VA health care if they:
- Have a service-connected disability rating of 30% or more; or
- Are traveling for treatment of a service-connected condition; or
- Receive a VA pension; or
- Are traveling for a scheduled compensation or pension examination; or
- Have income below the maximum annual VA pension rate
Special mode travel (such as a wheelchair van or ambulance) is provided to eligible Veterans based on a clinical determination of need (authorization is not required for emergencies if a delay would endanger their life or health).
Mileage reimbursement of 41.5 cents per mile may be claimed to offset the expense of travel when the Veteran drove to a qualified appointment. Reimbursement for the actual cost of common carrier travel (bus, train, taxi, etc.) is available in some circumstances.
No More Standing In Line
VA has implemented online form VA Form 10-3542, “Veteran/Beneficiary Claim for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses,” as a simple way to apply for mileage reimbursement without standing in line. Contact your local VAMC Beneficiary Travel office for details.
Travel benefits are subject to a deductible. Exceptions to the deductible requirement include:
- Travel for a compensation and pension examination
- Travel by an ambulance or a specially equipped van
- When annual income does not exceed certain limits. For more information on travel benefits, visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vtp/beneficiary_travel.asp.
Health Benefits For Service-Connected Conditions Are Never Out Of Reach
VA’s Foreign Medical Program (FMP) provides health care payment/reimbursement for U.S. Veterans with VA-rated service-connected conditions who live or travel abroad.
|All countries (excluding the Philippines)|
Foreign Medical Program
|To contact FMP online||Web site|
|Medical Services in the Philippines|
VA Outpatient Clinic – Manila
Notice of Privacy Practices
Veterans who are enrolled for VA health care benefits have various privacy rights under federal law and regulations, including the right to a Notice of Privacy Practices. To review the VA Notice of Privacy Practices, visit www.oprm.va.gov/privacy/resources_privacy.aspx or write to the VHA Privacy Office (19F2), 810 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20420.
Services and Tools Available Online
VA's Health Benefits website
VA’s health benefits website, located at www.va.gov/healthbenefits, contains a wide range of information related to the medical benefits, information and resources available to its enrollees, such as:
- Online application for enrollment
- Newly-released information regarding updates or changes to VA health care benefits and services
- Medical benefits based on eligibility and priority group
- Eligibility and benefits determination calculator
- Copay information
- Contact Information
- Online chat features
- Access to downloadable resources (fact sheets, brochures, etc.)
- Resource library
- Links to other sites of interest, such as MyHealtheVet, eBenefits, Pay.gov and the Affordable Care Act
Office of Public Health
The VA Office of Public Health brings a public health approach to promoting and protecting the health of Veterans and VA staff. Visit www.publichealth.va.gov to learn about important health-related subjects, including:
- Health & Wellness: topics that cover staying healthy with vaccinations and infection- control habits, employee wellness programs, and violence prevention
- Diseases & Conditions: find out more about certain medical conditions that may affect Veterans
- VA conducted health related studies and data: the Office of Public Health and research organizations conduct studies on the health issues affecting Veterans to better serve their needs
- Military Exposures: learn about exposure-related health concerns
VA offers touch-screen devices at VAMCs and CBOCs for Veterans to have convenient control and access to their health information. Activities include:
- Check in for current appointments and view future appointments
- Manage, review and update personal and insurance information
- Apply for beneficiary travel mileage reimbursement
- Request medical records
- Manage account balance
- Review and reconcile medication and allergy information
More capabilities will be available soon. Visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vps to learn more.
Your Personal VA Health Information At Your Finger Tips
VA emphasizes patient-centered innovations including MyHealtheVet (www.myhealth.va.gov), an e-portal suite of tools for Veterans and caregivers that provides:
- Secure, web-based Personal Health Record (PHR) patient access to personal health information from the VA Electronic Health Record
- The ability to download and share personal health information using the VA Blue Button
- Online services, such as e-prescription refills, trusted health education resources
- Secure messaging between patients and their VA health care teams
If you are a VA patient and have an upgraded account (obtained by completing the one-time authentication process), you can:
- participate in secure messaging with your participating VA health care team members
- request prescription refills
- view key portions of your DoD military service information
- get or view your VA:
- wellness reminders
- appointments and lab results
- allergies and adverse reactions
- key portions of your electronic record
- Continuity of Care Documents (CCD)
- Participate in future features as they become available
Visit MyHealtheVet at www.myhealth.va.gov, register and learn more about authentication PLUS the many features and tools available to you 24/7 anywhere you have Internet access. If you have any questions about MyHealtheVet, contact the MyHealtheVet Coordinator at your local VA facility.
Special Care Access Network
Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO)
Through VA’s SCAN-ECHO initiative, Veterans and their primary care team use videoconferencing technology to seek expertise from specialists located 100 to 500 miles away. VA offers SCAN ECHO to more than 40 rural sites of care with more than 100 participating rural primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
VA is leveraging mobile health technology to provide Veterans with additional opportunities to become active partners in their health care. VA Mobile releases new apps for Veterans regularly. Check https://mobile.va.gov/ often for new information about available apps.
eBenefits is a one-stop shop for benefits-related information for Veterans, Wounded Warriors, Servicemembers, their families and their caretakers. eBenefits allows Veterans to apply for VA benefits, such as health care, education and pension. Other services include:
- Disability compensation
- Add or remove dependent
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program
MANAGE BENEFITS –
- Compensation claims status
- Direct deposit
- VA letters and Certificate of Eligibility for Home Loan
MANAGE HEALTH –
- VA medical records and prescription refills
- VA appointment scheduling
- Order hearing aid batteries and prosthetic socks
For more information, visit: www.ebenefits.va.gov.
Veterans Canteen Service
Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) offers you the opportunity to shop and dine at any of its store/café operations located in VA hospitals, in many CBOCs across the country and in some Veterans Benefits Offices. The VCS Patriot Store Direct 1-800 Special Order Program offers savings on top, name brand retail items, such as computers, tires, tools, large appliances, flowers, jewelry, toys and much more. Browse vendors and monthly features at www.vacanteen.va.gov and look for the Special Order page on the left side navigation or call 1-800-664-8258 Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET to place an order.
For more information, visit www.vacanteen.va.gov.