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Story 10

VA Eliminates Net Worth as Health Care Eligibility Factor

Courtesy VA

The Department of Veterans Affairs is updating the way it determines eligibility for VA health care, a change that will result in more veterans having access to the health care benefits they’ve earned and deserve.

Most veterans who do not receive a VA disability or pension payment or have a VA special eligibility, must complete a financial assessment when applying for enrollment to determine their eligibility. Effective 2015, VA eliminated the use of net worth as a determining factor for both health care programs and co-payment responsibilities. This change makes VA health care benefits more accessible to lower-income veterans and brings VA policies in line with Secretary Robert A. McDonald’s MyVA initiative which reorients VA around veterans’ needs.

“Everything that we do and every decision we make has to be focused on the veterans we serve,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “We are working every day to earn their trust. Changing the way we determine eligibility to make the process easier for veterans is part of our promise to our veterans.”

Instead of combining the sum of veterans’ income with their assets to determine eligibility for medical care and copayment obligations, VA will now only consider a veteran’s gross household income and deductible expenses from the previous year. Elimination of the consideration of net worth for VA health care enrollment means that certain lower-income, non-service-connected veterans will have less out-of- pocket costs. Over a five-year period, it is estimated that 190,000 veterans will become eligible for reduced costs of their health care services.

In March 2014, VA eliminated the annual requirement for updated financial information. VA now uses information from the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration to automatically match individual veterans’ income information which reduces the burden on veterans to keep their healthcare eligibility up to date. That change better aligned VA’s health care financial assessment program with other federal health care organizations.

Veterans may submit updated income information at www.1010ez.med.va.gov/, or by visiting their nearby VA health care facility.  For more information, visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits or call VA toll-free at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

 

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