The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and America’s Medicaid program provide affordable, high-quality health care to our country’s veterans and their families. While VA health care coverage is available to all veterans, Medicaid serves to strengthen the care options available to veterans through extensive networks of providers, and ensures they receive the care and services they need.
Through the VA, veterans are offered a range of health care services including primary care, mental health counseling, vision, prescription drug coverage, surgical services, and sometimes dental care. With more than 1,700 VA outpatient sites and vet centers, many veterans find the VA convenient for meeting their care needs.
However, veterans in rural areas often have to travel great distances to receive necessary services through their VA health care coverage. In these cases, Veterans who are enrolled in Medicaid have access to a larger network of providers and the option of receiving care at non-VA facilities.
In addition to covering many mental and behavioral health services, Medicaid also covers long-term supports and services for veterans who need it. VA benefits are capped each month, so many VA recipients depend on Medicaid to pay for the remaining balance of their nursing home care. Medicaid coverage ensures that veterans can receive the long-term care they need to stay as healthy as possible.
Family is an essential support system for veterans, and can also benefit from enrollment in Medicaid. The VA provides health care coverage for military families who have experienced a permanent disability or lost their life during service, while others receive coverage through TRICARE – the health care program for uniformed service members, retirees, and their families. However, the VA and TRICARE are not available to all military families. As a result, many families rely on Medicaid for affordable, high-quality care, especially those families whose children have complex health needs.
Unfortunately, awareness of the options for integrated care through VA benefits and Medicaid is low among veterans and their families. The Modern Medicaid Alliance and our partners will continue to promote awareness among for our nation’s veterans and their loved ones around opportunities to access care.