Years ago, veterans who are either experiencing a non-service-connected condition or had contracted an illness not linked to their service were eligible to receive care from VA hospitals as long as they were willing to make copayments for the care. They were, however, required to follow the VA thresholds of the combined income and net worth, and they will only be deemed eligible if these were above the VA’s requirements.
Now, veterans seeking care need not to worry about their net worth, for the VA had announced last March that getting veterans health benefits no longer factors in a veteran’s net worth. Effective this year, the VA begun to eliminate a veteran’s net worth as an eligibility factor for both their health care programs and copayment responsibilities, and will now only consider a veteran’s combined home income and deductible expenses from the previous year as eligibility requirements.
More Accessible Health Care
With this change, an estimate of 190,000 low-income and non-service connected veterans are expected to have lower health costs in the next five years. Now, VA copayments will range from $15 per visit for primary care and up to $50 per visit for specialty care. These copayments will also apply to inpatient care and other hospital services.
Though the department stands to lose between $55.5 million and $80 million for in patient copayments during the next five years, VA officials saw this change as an opportunity to help ease the burden of high costs for health care among low-income veterans. “Changing the way we determine eligibility to make the process easier for veterans is part of our promise to our veterans,” said VA secretary Robert McDonald.
Other VA Initiatives
This change in eligibility requirements for health benefits is just among the many initiatives by the VA to improve the quality of healthcare for veterans. Only last year, they had eliminated the annual requirement for updated financial information, and are now basing an individual veteran’s income information from the one provided by the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration.
Moreover, the VA had already begun combining its organizational maps and turning it into a single map with five regions, which will allow them to build single regional frameworks that aims to enhance internal coordination.
With all these changes, it’s easy enough to get confused about the current eligibility requirements for a veteran’s health benefits. Fortunately, you can approach an informed veterans disability attorney, like Jan Dils, Attorney at Law, who can help you with the process of acquiring the health benefits you or your loved one deserves.
VA drops ‘net worth’ as eligibility requirement for care, Military Times, March 18, 2015
VA health care eligibility: Net worth no longer a factor, Herald Independent, April 18, 2015