There are a variety of VA healthcare opportunities available to Veterans and their families, many of which remain unknown and under-utilized. At SAVI, we want to ensure that you are taking advantage of the privileges and benefits that you qualify for as a Veteran or dependent. There are different ways to secure comprehensive or low-cost healthcare plans through the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and the first step is being informed on the options.
Here’s everything you need to know about dental, vision and dependent VA healthcare options available to you in 2019.
When thinking of your VA healthcare options, it’s easy to direct your focus to medical coverage. However, you may qualify for an all-encompassing dental plan through the VA. When determining whether you qualify, many factors are taken into consideration, including details of your prior military service, your current living situation and your current medical state. Input your information into this site to find out what plan you’re eligible for.
Don’t qualify for dental benefits? You still may be able to reduce costs of dental insurance through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP), which you can read more about here. Keep in mind that in order to enroll in VADIP, you must be a Veteran already enrolled in the VA healthcare system or a dependent enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA).
Vision coverage is also an area often overlooked by service-members once they transition to civilian. But if you’re already qualified for VA healthcare benefits, you certainly qualify for at least some vision care through the VA as well. According to the VA website, the VA will cover your routine annual eye exams and preventative testing if you already have VA healthcare benefits. To qualify for additional vision coverage, however, you’ll have to fall under a specific set of criteria. For example: in order to get your eyeglasses paid for, you must meet one or more of the below requirements:
- Have a service-connected disability for which you’re receiving disability payments
- Are a former Prisoner of War (POW)
- Were awarded a Purple Heart
- Receive benefits under Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1151
- Receive an increased pension due to being permanently housebound
- Have vision problems caused by an illness — or the treatment of an illness — for which you’re receiving VA care. Examples include stroke, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, vascular disease, geriatric chronic illnesses, etc.
- Vision problems caused by an injury — or the treatment of an injury — for which you’re receiving VA care. Examples include reactions to prescribed medicines, cataract surgery, traumatic brain injury or polytrauma
- Functional or cognitive impairment severe enough to make everyday tasks hard
- Vision and/or hearing loss severe enough you need assistance in caring for yourself
- For blind Veterans, the VA also offers various advanced care options, including inpatient rehabilitation centers and vision-enhancing devices.
Learn more about vision coverage and apply online here.
VA healthcare privileges are not just for Veterans, but for their dependents as well. If you’re a Veteran spouse, child or primary caregiver, you may qualify for the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). This program, a comprehensive healthcare program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services with eligible beneficiaries, is the only way non-Tricare qualifying dependents can receive VA healthcare. Still, not every dependent will qualify. One or more of the following descriptions must be true for you to receive CHAMPVA:
- The spouse or child of a Veteran who’s been rated permanently and totally disabled for a service-connected disability by a VA regional benefit office
- The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who died from a VA-rated service-connected disability
- The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who was at the time of death rated permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability
- The surviving spouse or child of a service-member who died in the line of duty
Learn more about applying for CHAMPVA here.
Additionally, the VA offers The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, which provides enhanced support to caregivers of Veterans who were injured in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Through this program, caregivers can receive counseling, respite care, education, monetary support and more. Find out if you’re eligible.
Still Have Questions About VA Healthcare?
Researching and applying for healthcare as a Veteran can be a daunting task. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please reach out to SAVI for free support and to learn more about our free Veteran services!