Veterans and Healthcare Accessibility

There are several healthcare options available to veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a network of hospitals that offer medical care exclusively to veterans. While VA health care is not an insurance program it offers health care for service related injuries, ailments, and disabilities to Veterans at no cost. Veterans not being treated for service related health issues may still be treated at VA Hospitals and Clinics but will have their health insurance billed. There are some health insurance programs offered specifically to Veterans, active-duty servicemen and women, and their families as well as typical private health insurance access through employers.


Tricare is a program that provides civilian medical services to military personnel, veterans, and their dependents. This program is available through the United States Department of Defense and offers coverage to uniformed service members, National Guard and reserve members, Medal of Honor recipients, and their families.

Pharmacy benefits and dental benefits are also offered through this program. Through this program Veterans have access to prescriptions through military pharmacies, Tricare Home Delivery Pharmacy, Network and Non-network pharmacies. Military pharmacies require no out of pocket costs for veterans using Tricare.


The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran Affairs, otherwise known as CHAMPVA, is a health insurance program for veterans in which the VA pays for a portion of health care services. CHAMPVA is different than Tricare because it is a program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In order to be eligible for this program you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be the spouse or child of a permanently disabled Veteran who is disabled due to military service
  • Be the spouse or child of a Veteran who died from a service-related injury or disability
  • Be the surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who died after being labelled as permanently disabled by the VA in connection with their military service

Other Options

Some veterans qualify for Medicare and Medicaid programs. These programs are based on level of income, age, disabilities, and other criteria. Veterans accepted into the Medicaid program do not have to pay copays when being treated at VA facilities.


Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works