The Veterans Choice card is available to any veteran enrolled in the VA health care system as of Aug. 1, 2014, or who is a newly discharged combat veteran if such veteran is unable to secure an appointment at a VA medical facility within 30 days or resides more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility, with certain exceptions.
A recent law enacted by Congress seeks to improve health care for our nation’s veterans.
The Veterans Choice, Access and Accountability Act of 2014, passed in August, requires the Veterans Administration to provide a Veterans Choice card to eligible veterans to facilitate care provided by non-VA providers.
The card is available to any veteran enrolled in the VA health care system as of Aug. 1, 2014, or who is a newly discharged combat veteran if such veteran is unable to secure an appointment at a VA medical facility within 30 days or resides more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility, with certain exceptions.
Veterans are eligible in any of the following situations:
• You have been told by your local VA medical facility that you will need to wait more than 30 days from your preferred date or the date medically determined by your physician;
• Your current residence is more than 40 miles from the closest VA health care facility;
• You need to travel by plane or boat to the VA medical facility closest to your home;
• You face an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to a VA medical facility based on the presence of a body of water (including moving water and still water) or a geologic formation that cannot be crossed by road.
Every veteran will receive a letter and a Choice Card in the mail with details about the program. Veterans will be eligible for the program and receive cards in three phases. The first phase will be for veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility. The second phase is for veterans waiting for an appointment longer than 30 days from their preferred date or the date determined to be medically necessary by their physician. The third phase is for veterans enrolled for VA health care who may be eligible for the Choice Program in the future.
The program does not affect existing VA health care or any other VA benefits. The administration advises veterans that if they are satisfied with their wait time for medical care and wish to continue in that manner, there is nothing for them to do at this time.
Non-VA care is only covered by VA for medical needs approved by a VA physician. The VA can schedule an appointment for other medical needs but can only cover the cost of care related to VA-approved health needs.
You may have recently received your Choice Card. If you have not received it yet, there is no need to do anything. Due to the number of cards being mailed, they are being sent over a period of approximately 90 days. If you have recently moved or otherwise changed your primary residence, fill out the VA Form 10-10EZR to update your information, contact your enrollment coordinator at your nearest VA medical facility, or call (877) 222-VETS (8387).
To set up an appointment with a non-VA provider, call the VA at (866) 606-8198 and they will work with you to ensure you are approved for care in your community.