Employers need to understand the benefits available to veterans and work to close the gap between the uninsured and insured, especially in cases where employer-provided benefits have been reduced. Many uninsured veterans are working (68%); however, they are not receiving necessary healthcare because of their lack of coverage (Himmelstein et al., 2007).
The VA has extended their healthcare eligibility for veterans under the “Combat Veteran” authority. This authority applies to all combat veterans who were discharged or released from active service on, or after, January 28, 2003. Under this authority, the VA provides healthcare services and community living care for conditions, possibly related to military service for five years after discharge or release.
There are many government-funded health programs available to veterans that employers should familiarize themselves with to assist veteran employees in obtaining care. Additional resources are available through the Federal Department of Labor and the Veteran’s Administration in the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) and the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR & E) programs.
TRICARE is the health care program for Uniformed Service members, retirees and their families worldwide. Frequently asked questions about TRICARE programs and services can be found at http://www.tricare.mil/faqs/
Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA)
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive health care program in which the Veterans Administration shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries, including dependent children and spouses of disabled or deceased veterans. Due to the similarity between CHAMPVA and the Department of Defense (DoD) TRICARE program (sometimes referred to by its old name, CHAMPUS) the two are often mistaken for each other. CHAMPVA is a Department of Veterans Affairs program whereas TRICARE is a regionally managed health care program for active duty and retired members of the uniformed services, their families, and survivors. In some cases a veterans may look to be eligible for both/either program on paper. However, if you are a military retiree, or the spouse of a veteran who was killed in action, you are and will always be a TRICARE beneficiary, you can´t choose between the two.
The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), National Guard Bureau and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) created the VetCorps program to focus on reintegration and helping returning veterans and their families access critical services and support they need, ranging from social, mental, and physical health services to housing and employment assistance. VetCorps recruits up to 100 full-time veterans for AmeriCorps and AmericaCorps Vista members and places them with community organizations. To learn more, visit http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/newsroom/releases_detail.asp?tbl_pr_id=2050.
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA):
VA Health Benefits Home, Returning Service members (OEF/OIF/OND):
CHAMPVA (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran Affairs):
The DOL’s Employment and Training Service (VETS):
VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR & E) Program:
Department of Defense Compensation and Benefits Handbook for Wounded, Ill, and Injured Members of the Armed Forces