The Veterans Administration provides health care services to any eligible veteran in the United States. While the VA historically has only provided heath care services to veterans who had service-related injuries and illnesses, it has expanded its services to provide health care to all veterans, regardless whether or not their health care needs are service-related or not.
Providing a Safety Net
According to KaiserEDU.org, approximately 1.8 million veterans do not have any other health insurance available to them. This translates into 12.9 percent of veterans under the age of 65 who depend solely on the Veterans Administration for both their preventive and emergent health care needs. VA health services provide access to care for many, many lower income veterans in the form of doctor appointments, prescription benefits, outpatient and inpatient surgical and other hospital care.
For many veterans, the VA is their only option for health care services. This can be especially true for veterans who live in rural areas or those who have long-term health care concerns, or are facing a difficult cancer prognosis. For example, many veterans who discover later in life they have developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure while they served in the Navy or another branch of the military find that they have significant health care needs that may not be served elsewhere.
Access to Care
Often, veterans who have not been part of the Veterans Administration health care system are confused by the process. The first step is to contact their local VA representative and become enrolled in the system. The VA website has a great deal of helpful information about local services available and the location of clinics and hospitals in your area.
Also, if you discover that your health care issues are service-related, do not waste any time applying for disability compensation from the VA. While it may take a considerable amount of time and effort to be approved for this compensation, it is one of the benefits to which you are entitled as a veteran. As your disability rating increases, so does your access to health care assistance. Additionally, your copay amounts will decrease or may be eliminated entirely.
Healthcare is one of the benefits that come along with service to your country in the military. Today’s Veterans Administration is making a greater effort to meet the health care needs of veterans, no matter what age they are and how long it has been since they returned to civilian life. By accessing the VA’s health care programs, you can not only receive primary care services, but also prescriptions, surgical care, dental care, mental health care and an entire realm of other types of health care services.