VA Health Benefits
Am I Eligible?
If you were in the active military service and separated under any condition other than
dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Most veterans who enlisted
after September 7, 1980, who served the full period of the time called to active duty or
24 continuous months are eligible for health benefits.
If you do not meet the active service time specified above, you may be eligible if you are
a veteran who:
• Is a former Prisoner of War
• Received a Purple Heart Medal
• Received a Medal of Honor
• Receives a compensable VA awarded service-connected disability of 10% or more
• Receives a VA Pension
• Was discharged from the military due to a non-preexisting disability, early out or
• Served in a Theater of Operations for 5 years after being discharged
• Served in the Republic of Vietnam, Persian Gulf, or was stationed at Camp Lejeune
• Is determined by VA to be Catastrophically Disabled
• Has household income below the VAʼs National Income or Geographical-Adjusted
What do VA health benefits cover?
Veterans today have a comprehensive medical benefits package with the finest quality
health care. VA Medical Centers cover all heath issues and provide both Primary and
Specialty Care services to Veterans.
Are there special health benefits for women Veterans?
The VA is committed to providing the highest quality healthcare for its women Veterans.
A Women Veterans Program Manager is assigned to every VA Medical Center to advise
and advocate for women veterans. VA facilities offer a variety of services specifically for
women, including womenʼs gender-specific health care, screening, and disease
prevention programs, and childbirth services to a newborn child of a woman Veteran.
What do VA health benefits cost?
Most Veterans not receiving VA pension payments or disability compensation are asked
to complete a financial assessment each year to determine if they qualify for free
services. Some procedures require a copay. A Veteranʼs priority group rating and
household income help determines if outpatient and inpatient copays are applicable.
Many Veterans receive free healthcare services based on a VA compensable service-connected
the condition or other qualifying factors.
The following services are free and exempt from inpatient and outpatient copays:
• Care related to VA-rated service-connected disability
• Care that is part of a VA research project
• Readjustment and related mental health counseling services
• Care for head and neck cancer caused by radium treatments received in the military
• Care and counseling for military sexual trauma
• Special registry exams to evaluate possible health risks from service in the military
• Smoking cessation and weight reduction services
• Care potentially related to combat service in a theater of combat operations after
November 11, 1998
• Compensation and pension exams
• Care associated with a VA research project
• VA public health initiatives
• Laboratory and electrocardiograms
• Hospice care
What is an enrollment Priority Group?
The number of veterans who can enroll in the health care program each year is
determined by the amount of funding the VA receives from Congress that year.
Priority Groups range from 1-8. Group 1 is given the highest priority for enrollment and
is granted to veterans with service-related disabilities rated at 50% or more and for
veterans assigned a total disability rating for compensation based on unemployability.
Disability ratings, awards received while in the service or as a result of service, income
thresholds and time of service are all factors taken into consideration when determining
a Veteranʼs priority group.
What if I already have Private Health Care Insurance?
Your private health care insurance, or lack thereof, does not affect your eligibility for VA
health benefits. If you have a private health plan, the VA is required to bill private heath
insurance providers for treatment of non-service connected conditions. You will not be
responsible for any unpaid amount your private insurance does not cover, except for VA
copays as applicable. In some instances, payments from your private insurer allow the
VA to offset part or all of your copay. Also, many private insurance companies will apply
health care charges from the VA towards satisfying your annual deductible.
Before canceling your private health insurance, consider the following:
• There is no guarantee that Congress will appropriate sufficient funds to provide care
for all priority groups in subsequent years.
• Non-Veteran spouses and family members generally do not qualify for VA health
• If you cancel Medicare Part B participation, you have to wait until January of the next
year to reinstate it and there may be a penalty
Where can I receive treatment?
With over 1,400 veteran treatment sites nationwide, Veteranʼs are given the opportunity
to select their preferred, or primary VA health care facility. If a Veteran is away from
their preferred facility, they can receive care at any other facility throughout the nation.
While in a foreign country, Veterans may receive treatment for service-connected
Veteranʼs may qualify for mileage reimbursement, subject to a deductible, for travel to
and from VA health facilities if one of the following applies:
• The Veteran has a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more
• The Veteran is traveling to treat a service-connected condition
• The Veteran receives a VA pension
• The Veteranʼs income does not exceed the maximum annual VA pension rate
• Veteranʼs meeting any of the above conditions may also be provided special travel
accommodations based on need determined by a clinical evaluation.
How do I enroll?
If you meet the eligibility requirements, complete and submit VA Form 10-10EZ,
Application for Health Benefits. This form is available at https://www.
1010ez.med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/. If you need assistance completing the application
or need a copy mailed to you, call 1-877-222-VETS (8387). You may also apply in
person at any VA healthcare facility. Once your application is processed, you will be
notified via letter of your enrollment status and priority group assignment.
Do I need to reapply annually?
As long as your priority group has available funds to provide health benefits, your
enrollment will be automatically renewed each year. If you are receiving an exemption
or reduction in copays, you will be required to update your financial information on an
annual basis or when your income changes.