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Thursday, March 19, 2015

NET WORTH NO LONGER ELIGIBILITY FACTOR FOR VET HEALTH CARE SAYS VA

FROM:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
VA Eliminates Net Worth as Health Care Eligibility Factor
March 17, 2015, 02:01:00 PM
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VA Eliminates Net Worth as Health Care Eligibility Factor

Elimination of Net Worth Makes More Veterans Eligible for Health Care
Washington – The Department of Veterans Affairs is updating the way it determines eligibility for VA health care, a change that will result in more Veterans having access to the health care benefits they’ve earned and deserve.
Effective 2015, VA eliminated the use of net worth as a determining factor for both health care programs and copayment responsibilities. This change makes VA health care benefits more accessible to lower-income Veterans and brings VA policies in line with Secretary Robert A. McDonald’s MyVA initiative which reorients VA around Veterans’ needs.

“Everything that we do and every decision we make has to be focused on the Veterans we serve,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “We are working every day to earn their trust. Changing the way we determine eligibility to make the process easier for Veterans is part of our promise to our Veterans.”

Instead of combining the sum of Veterans’ income with their assets to determine eligibility for medical care and copayment obligations, VA will now only consider a Veteran’s gross household income and deductible expenses from the previous year. Elimination of the consideration of net worth for VA health care enrollment means that certain lower-income, non-service-connected Veterans will have less out-of- pocket costs. Over a 5-year period, it is estimated that 190,000 Veterans will become eligible for reduced costs of their health care services.

In March 2014, VA eliminated the annual requirement for updated financial information. VA now uses information from the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration to automatically match individual Veterans’ income information which reduces the burden on Veterans to keep their healthcare eligibility up to date. That change better aligned VA’s health care financial assessment program with other federal health care organizations.