Health Care Reform Bill and its impact on Veterans Benefits

A question that I’ve been receiving a lot lately at via email is, how will the Health Care Reform bill put in place effect current and future veterans. In doing some research and pulling up the actual health care bill here regarding VA benefits that was signed into law.


Protects access to quality, affordable health care that veterans, service members, and their families have now

Preserves VA Health Care

o No impact on VA health care. Veterans eligible for VA health care will remain eligible under health reform; nothing in the new law will affect veterans’ access to the care that they currently are receiving. States that the Department of Veterans Affairs will retain full authority over the VA health care system.

Preserves TRICARE and TRICARE for Life Benefits

o No effect on TRICARE or TRICARE for Life. There is no provision in the new law that will lead to increases in co-pays, changes in eligibility requirements, or in any way modify how TRICARE is administered. The Department of Defense will maintain sole authority to operate TRICARE.

Meets the individual responsibility requirement.

o Clarifies that those covered by the VA system and TRICARE for Life meet the individual responsibility requirement, and therefore exempts the beneficiaries from any penalty.

o To provide additional reassurance and to ensure there is no misunderstanding, the Senate and House of Representatives passed the TRICARE Affirmation Act (H.R. 4887), which would add TRICARE to the new law’s listing of government-sponsored programs that meet the individual responsibility requirement. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

o Additionally, legislation introduced by Senator Akaka (S. 3162), which passed the Senate on March 25th, clarifies that children with spina bifida who are born to certain veterans are included in the provision defining VA care as meeting the minimum essential coverage requirement under the new law. S. 3162 also clarifies that those covered under VA’s health care program for certain dependents – CHAMPVA – would also be considered to meet the minimum essential coverage requirement.


Read the Complete SenateBill


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