Health Care Benefits for Veterans

December 28, 2016

The U.S. government promises a lifetime of guaranteed healthcare for veterans, in recognition of their service to our nation in the armed forces. What do the promises mean? This site provides an overview of the benefits, the barriers to obtaining benefits, and how to determine whether VA health care is for you.

Health Care Benefits Offered to Veterans

Veterans Administration facilities offer a wide range of services to millions of patients.

Outpatient Care at VA Facilities: Primary care visits for a $15 copyayment and preventative care services with no copayment required for health fairs, outpatient visit for preventive screening and/or immunizations, laboratory services, flat film radiology services, and electrocardiograms.
Medication for approved: Most veterans are currently charged $7 for a 30-day or less supply of medication.

Barriers to Using Veterans Health Care Benefits

While millions are served, these represent a mere fraction of eligible veterans. Why do many seek other avenues for health care?

Congress talks about supporting Veterans yet prefers to fund pork. In 2005, Congress demonstrated its disdain for Veterans by refusing to fund promised benefits, and at the same time approving $220 million in funding for Alaskan “bridges to nowhere.”
Services primarily are delivered at a limited number of VA facilities that are not accessible by many. Congress has been asked to allow Veterans access to public and private hospitals, yet it declines to do so.
Quality of Care is a Question Mark. Perceived quality varies by location. While the Federal Department of Health and Human Services lists the performance of many hospitals on a location by location basis, the VA results are not provided for each location. Many Veterans do find their VA health care services satisfactory.
Eligibility is limited. If you are a veteran and have service connected disabilities, are catastrophically disabled, or destitute, you may be eligible to access benefits. Congress has restricted access that was promised to all. In this regard, while World War I veterans were afforded full eligibility, our Congress has segregated defenders of the Constitution eight separate classes. Eligibility in some cases can now depend not on whether the veteran served honorably in conflict, but on whether paperwork was filled out prior to January 17, 2003.
Prescription drugs offered are often second rate. The VA listing of approved drugs excludes many modern prescriptions. Patients often prefer to use drugs that are recognized as superior, and so do not accept the VA drug formulary.

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