The issues surrounding healthcare are moving quickly, and veterans and their families need to examine their eligibility for VA or retiree programs, how they may be useful or more cost effective to you, and whether they will meet your needs. The decision to apply for any specific program should be made after consulting with the VSO. Eligibility for VA programs are changing frequently, too, but in general once you are enrolled by the VA in their healthcare program, you will be able to use it provided you continue in the program. All of
the following provide creditable healthcare coverage under the law in Massachusetts:
VA Healthcare is available to most veterans. The priority system established by the VA includes automatic acceptance for service connected disabled veterans, ex-POWs, Purple Heart Recipients, all Vietnam veterans due to Agent Orange exposure (Vietnam Service Medal should show on DD214), and returning OEF/OIF veterans for 5 years. While an 8 tier priority system sounds daunting, the reality is if your income is below $45,000 per year (single) or $50,000 per year (married), regardless of your assets, you are probably going to be accepted into the VA healthcare system should you wish to use it. Primary care clinics in the Eastern Essex District Area are in Gloucester, Haverhill and Lynn under the VA Medical Center at Bedford. Due to rail transportation to North Station some veterans prefer to
use the clinic on Causeway Street in Boston, which is under VA Medical Center Boston (at Jamaica Plain). We will happily assist you in applying for VA healthcare. Call us with questions, concerns, for information or to set up an appointment and we will advise you of documentation you will need to bring.
CHAMPVA is available to families of most 100% service connected disabled veterans. Once enrolled in CHAMPVA spouses can retain the coverage even if the veteran dies. Coverage is available with any facility that will accept CHAMPVA (most do), includes a mail order pharmacy benefit, and is virtually cost free once the spouse/widow turns 65 and has Medicare Parts A & B.
TRICARE is coverage for military retirees and their families. Coverage is guaranteed provided the retiree and dependents have current military ID Cards and are enrolled in DEERs.
USFHP is a special Tricare Prime program available in our region to military retirees and their dependents. DEERs enrollment must be current, and specific doctors/hospitals are members of the USFHP system.
Call us and we will help you sort through your options.