Health Care Programs for Military Veterans in the USA

By  //  April 8, 2021

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Joining the military has its benefits such as guaranteed paycheck and cash bonuses, education benefits, advanced and specialty training, 30 days annual paid vacation, travel incentives, option for full-time or part-time service, tax-free room, board and allowances, use of commissary and military exchange stores, special home loans and discounts.

There are also benefits that aren’t tangible like gaining skills and leadership and training. Developing a sense of dedication, discipline, loyalty, and commitment. Aside from all the things mentioned, healthcare is also part of the benefits and this is no different when you retire and become a veteran.

Military veterans and/or their beneficiaries who are enrolled in the Veterans Health Care Program or TRICARE don’t need to make changes in their healthcare plan as they are already considered covered under the health care law. This means that they don’t need to get additional coverage.

However, if you are a military veteran or beneficiary who is not enrolled in both TRICARE or the Veterans Health Care Program, you can use the Marketplace to enroll in a plan. If you need help with any verification you make visit

Here are Veterans programs that meet coverage requirements where the military veterans and/or their beneficiaries can apply to.

Veterans Health Care Program

This covers regular checkups with the military veteran’s primary health care provider and They can also request the service of specialists such as cardiologists, gynecologists, and mental health providers. They also have access to other health care services such as home health and eldercare where they can get equipment for medical use, prosthetics, and prescriptions for their medicines.

Before anything else, verify if you are eligible for this program.

Those who are eligible to apply are those who served in the active military, naval, or air service. It is also a requirement that military veterans do not receive a dishonorable discharge. Here is a list that will verify eligibility:

  • Enlisted after September 8, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 198.

He or she must have served 24 continuous months or the full period of which the military veteran has called to active duty.

  • A current or former member of the National Guard or the Reserves.

He or she must have been called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty. If he or she only had active duty status for training purposes only he or she will not be qualified.

However, the minimum requirement for eligibility above will not apply if the military veteran…

  • Was discharged for a disability that was caused or made worse by his or her active duty service.
  • Was discharged due to military hardship
  • Served prior to September 7, 1980

Before applying, the military veteran and/or the beneficiary must prepare the documents and information needed as requirements. These are:

  • Most recent tax return
  • Social Security Number
  • (if available) Account numbers of the current health insurance they already have. This includes Medicare, private insurances, insurance from your employer

After preparing everything needed, you can apply online for the Veterans Health Care Program. There are also other options. You can also apply by phone, by mail, and in person.


In TRICARE here are the services covered:

  1. Health Care
  2. Dental Care
  3. Mental Health Care
  4. Pharmacy
  5. Special Needs
  6. Vision Care

Do note that this program does not provide all services unless proven that it is needed.

The costs differentiate from what you need, who you are, and the available health plan options to you. You may explore the health plan options online.

In terms of eligibility, there are two types: sponsors and family members.


  • Active duty uniformed service members
  • Retired service members
  • National Guard and Reserve members
  • Retired national guard and reserve members
  • Survivors
  • Former spouses
  • Medal of Honor recipients
  • Foreign Force members

Family Members (this includes spouses and children)

  • The family of active duty uniformed service members
  • The family of the retired service members
  • The family of the national guard and reserve members
  • The family of the retired national guard and reserve members
  • The family of the medal of honor recipients
  • The family of foreign force members
  • Former spouses
  • Dependent parents and parents-in-law

Survivors and those who are registered in the DEERS (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) are also eligible for the health program.

To help confirm your eligibility you may check online or you may call the hotline.

It is also possible to lose eligibility and that means losing minimum essential coverage. Here are options that you might want to look at that will help you while you are looking at a different health care provider:

  • Transitional Assistance Management Program

The Transitional Assistance Management Program Offers 180 days transitional health coverage.

  • Continued Health Care Benefit Program

Continued Health Care Benefit Program offers an additional 18-46 month coverage.

After you have figured out what is best for you, you may now enroll or purchase a plan.

The following are the health plants offered:


This health care plan is only available in prime areas. You may check the list online or you may call the regional contractor.


This health care plan is available in designated remote locations in the United States.


This health care plan is available in non-remote overseas locations. However, this is not applicable to military veterans and their families.


This health care plan is available in remote overseas locations. Also not available for military veterans and their families.


This is what replaced TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra in 2018. TRICARE Select is a self-managed preferred provider plan.


This health plan is applicable if you live in an area in the United States where this is offered.


This is the premium health plan for reserve members and their families.


This is the premium health plan for retired reserve members and their families.


This is a premium health plan for adult-dependent children.