Information for Veterans
Veterans Affairs Programs
Consumers enrolled in any Veterans Affairs (VA) programs do not have to adjust their insurance under the new health care law. All VA health care programs meet the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requirements for "minimum essential coverage," which means that they provide services in 10 categories, called "essential health benefits."
Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals are required to have minimum essential coverage or face a tax penalty when they file their taxes. The good news is that all VA health care programs meet this requirement, and veterans who are enrolled in any of these programs will not be subject to the penalty.
The health care law does not change a veteran’s VA benefits or the costs they pay for their health care services (such as copays and coinsurance) through any VA programs. Veterans can continue to enjoy VA health care as they did before the health care law. To learn about the VA benefits available to veterans and their family members, use the VA Benefits Explorer.
Covered California for Veterans
If a veteran is not eligible for VA health benefits, or his or her family is not eligible, they may be able to purchase health insurance through Covered California or get coverage through Medi-Cal. Depending on their household size and yearly income, they may be able to get financial assistance, as well. For example, a single individual who makes $46,680 or less in 2015 will be eligible for either help paying for a Covered California health insurance plan or low- or no-cost Medi-Cal. A household of two making up to $62,920 and a household of four making up to $95,400 would also be eligible. Visit Covered California’s Shop and Compare Tool for more information.
Most veterans enrolled in a VA health plan will not be eligible for premium assistance and cost-sharing subsidies through Covered California, regardless of their household income. They may still purchase a Covered California health plan, but at full cost.
Consumers enrolled in VA coverage who wish to cancel that coverage in order to get a Covered California plan should consider the cost tradeoffs. Depending on the level of coverage they are considering through Covered California, their VA plan may have lower out-of-pocket costs or deductibles. If someone chooses to cancel their VA coverage and enroll in a plan through Covered California, they may reapply for enrollment in VA health care at any time, but they should keep in mind that returning to the VA for health care enrollment will be based on eligibility factors at the time of their application, which may result in a denial of enrollment.