Health care and the ACA: What veterans need to know

There are three things veterans should know about their health-care options:

Veterans Affairs wants all veterans to receive health care that improves their health and well-being.

If you are enrolled in VA health care, you do not need to take additional steps to meet the Affordable Care Act coverage standards and requirements. The health-care law does not change VA health benefits or veterans’ out-of-pocket costs.

If you are not enrolled in VA health care, you can apply at any time.

Additionally, enrollment in VA health care means you can enjoy:

Medical care rated among the best in the U.S.

Immediate benefits of health-care coverage. Veterans may apply for VA health-care enrollment at any time.

No enrollment fee, monthly premiums or deductibles. Most veterans have no out-of-pocket costs. Some veterans may have small co-payments for health care or prescription drugs.

More than 1,700 places to get your care. This means your coverage can go with you if you travel or move.

For those currently enrolled in VA health-care programs, the coverage meets the requirements under the Affordable Care Act. You do not have to take any additional steps to get health-care coverage.

Veterans not currently enrolled in VA health-care programs can apply for enrollment at any time. Remember, most people are required to have health-insurance coverage beginning in January 2014 or pay a penalty if they do not.

Whether you’re currently enrolled or not, you may also qualify for free or low-cost coverage from Medicaid, depending on your income.

The VA has developed resources about the health-care law specifically for veterans and their families. Veterans should visit www.VA.gov/ACA or call (877) 222-8387. You also can talk with your local county veterans service officer about your health-care needs.

Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or schleeterrs@co.laplata.co.us.

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