Pros and Cons of CHAMPVA
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, there are around 19 million veterans in the United States as of 2022, amounting to less than 10% of the overall U.S. population. If you are a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, you may be eligible for benefits through CHAMPVA. CHAMPVA is a health care program offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs that provides coverage to veterans and their families. In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of CHAMPVA so that you can decide if this program is right for you.
What is CHAMPVA?
CHAMPVA is a government-sponsored program that provides medical coverage to eligible veterans, spouses, and dependent children. Veterans who are disabled or have service-connected injuries are automatically eligible for coverage. Spouses and dependent children of veterans who are deceased or totally and permanently disabled due to a service-related injury are eligible for the coverage.
What are the Pros of CHAMPVA?
The Department of Veterans Affairs' Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive healthcare program. The VA covers the cost of covered health care services and goods for eligible people. There are lots of Pros of CHAMPVA. Here are a few ones you should note depending on the eligibility:
1. Medical Benefits
The VA, like any other insurance program, provides medical care. The VA covers only diabetes vision benefits. Dental benefits are limited. You will pay 25% of the cost for most services, including medical screening, mental health treatment, emergency room visits, hospital stays via ambulance or ground transportation, vaccinations, office appointments and more. You also have a $50 per-person deductible and a $100 per-family deductible.
2. Pharmacy benefits
CHAMPVA covers most of the cost for prescription drugs, but you will pay a small co-pay. You can use any pharmacy that accepts CHAMPVA, including mail-order pharmacies. You also have a $50 per-person deductible and a $100 per-family deductible. There is no limit on the number of prescriptions per year.
Rx benefits are not available to everyone; some enrollees may be required to get their medications through the VA system or the TRICARE pharmacy program. Some drugs, such as over-the-counter medications, are not covered by CHAMPVA.
Meds by Mail: The CHAMPVA and Spina Bifida Programs are administered by the Social Security Administration. The VA offers a free, convenient, and secure service through MMed's By Mail program to qualified individuals with spinal cord injuries or brain damage which require maintenance medications that aren't urgent.
Optum RX: OptumRx electronically processes pharmacy claims across the country, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. Beneficiaries are cared for by a network of over 82,000 retail pharmacies. Before submitting a claim, the pharmacy may take a 25% cost share (after the annual deductible has been met) – saving you time.
3. Mental health benefits are considerable pros of CHAMPVA
CHAMPVA provides mental health benefits for veterans and their families. These benefits include counselling, therapy, and medication. You will pay 25% of the cost for most services, including mental health treatment, emergency room visits, hospital stays via ambulance or ground transportation, vaccinations, office appointments and more. You also have a $50 per-person deductible and a $100 per-family deductible.
4. No Enrolment Fees
CHAMPVA has no enrolment fees, and you can enrol at any time. There is also no limit on the number of family members who can enrol in CHAMPVA. Enrolling in CHAMPVA is easy; you can do it online, by mail, or fax. You will need to provide proof of your eligibility, such as a DD-214 form or a letter from the VA. Once you are enrolled, you will receive a CHAMPVA ID card, which you must present when you receive care.
5. Coverage for pre-existing conditions
CHAMPVA covers pre-existing conditions, so you don't have to worry about being denied coverage. This is one of the main advantages of CHAMPVA over private insurance. Pre-existing conditions are defined as any condition before you enrol in CHAMPVA. This can include conditions diagnosed after you enrol, as long as they are related to a condition that existed before you enrolled.
There is no waiting period for coverage of pre-existing conditions. Coverage begins on the date you enrol in CHAMPVA. If you have any questions about whether your condition is covered, you can contact the CHAMPVA Call Center at (800)733-7927.
What are the Cons of CHAMPVA?
A few cons of CHAMPVA should be considered before enrolling in the program.
1. Lifetime Cap
One drawback of CHAMPVA is that there is a lifetime cap on benefits. This means that once a person reaches their lifetime limit, they will no longer be eligible for coverage. Another disadvantage is that CHAMPVA does not cover long-term care or custodial care. Finally, CHAMPVA does not cover pre-existing conditions. If a person has a condition that existed before enrolling in the program, it will not be covered under CHAMPVA benefits.
2. Additional Costs are the main cons of CHAMPVA
You will pay 25% of the cost for most services, including mental health treatment, emergency room visits, hospital stays via ambulance or ground transportation, vaccinations, office appointments and more. You also have a $50 per-person deductible and a $100 per-family deductible.
3. Mental health benefits are not available to everyone
Some enrollees may be required to get their medications through the VA system or TRICARE pharmacy program. Some drugs, such as over-the-counter medications, are not covered by CHAMPVA.
4. Not everyone is Eligible
To be eligible for CHAMPVA, you must be a Veteran with a service-connected disability or the spouse or child of a Veteran who has a service-connected disability. If you are the spouse or child of a Veteran who died in service or due to their service-connected disability, you may also be eligible for CHAMPVA.
5. CHAMPVA doesn't Cover some procedures
CHAMPVA doesn't cover some procedures, such as cosmetic surgery, elective procedures, and experimental procedures. Some other procedures not covered by CHAMPVA are outpatient mental health services, private-duty nursing, and custodial care. If you are under the age of 65 and enrolled in both Medicare Parts A&B, SSA documentation of enrollment in both Parts A&B is necessary.
To be eligible for Champva, veterans must meet one of the following criteria;
- Berated by the Veterans Administration (VA) as having a service-connected disability.
- Be rated by the VA as having a total and permanent service-connected disability.
- Be discharged from active military service due to a service-related disability.
- Be receiving VA pension benefits.
- Be receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
- Have been determined by the Social Security Administration to be eligible for SSDI benefits but have not yet begun receiving them.
- Be enrolled in the VA health care system
To apply for Champva, veterans can complete an application online or print and mail a paper application. Veterans will need to provide proof of military services, such as a DD-214 form or a Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE). If applicable, they will also need to provide proof of their disability rating from the VA. Spouses and dependent children will need to provide proof of their relationship to the veteran, such as a marriage.
Note: Read here for further eligibility and exclusion details.
Conclusion on the Pros and Cons of CHAMPVA
CHAMPVA is a valuable program with many benefits for eligible veterans and their families. However, some drawbacks to the program should be considered before applying. Reviewing both the pros and cons of CHAMPVA will help you decide whether or not this benefit is right for you and your family. Have you decided if CHAMPVA is right for you? If so, click here to apply now.