With the coronavirus pandemic affecting every country on the planet, maintaining quality healthcare is on most people’s minds. This is especially true for Veterans, who may also face life-long treatment for service-connected disabilities. Luckily, there are many healthcare options for retirees to fit a variety of needs.
Healthcare for Veterans generally falls under two options: VA Healthcare and TRICARE Prime. We’ll walk through each of them and provide links to additional resources to help you gain access to healthcare as you retire from service.
Upon retiring, Veterans have the option of continuing to use TRICARE Prime. If you wish to stay with the same team of healthcare providers, this may be a good option for you and your family. Retired service members and their family members will no longer receive zero out of pocket coverage and will be faced with enrollment costs and co-pays. When retired service members and their families become eligible for Medicare based upon age, they are no longer eligible for TRICARE Prime.
TRICARE Prime is divided into two geographical regions. Visit this page to determine whether you should enroll in the regional plans.
You may also choose to transition to VA Healthcare. Coverage within this program is dependent upon each Veteran’s specific healthcare needs. Baseline services are extended if you require care specific to injuries or disabilities sustained during service.
Visit this page for information about making the switch from TRICARE Prime during active-service to VA Healthcare upon retirement.
TRICARE PRIME AND VA HEALTHCARE, COMPARED:
|OPTION||TRICARE PRIME||VA HEALTHCARE|
|Geographic availability||Available in Prime Service Areas||1200 locations across the United States|
|Available for family members||YES||Case dependent for surviving spouses through the VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA)|
|Co-Pay||YES||Dependent upon economic assessment|
|Works with other healthcare plans (Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance)||NO||YES|
|Mental health services to treat PTSD, MST, depression, and substance use problems||Referral based and case contingent||YES|
|Covers assisted-living or at home care||NO||Partial coverage|
|Vision Coverage||Routine eye exams every two years||
Routine eye exams
(Discontinued after retirement)
|Coverage for caregivers||NO||Possibly. Case contingent|
West Region: 1-844-866-9378
If you do not enroll in either program and are not the recipient of private health insurance through a job, you or your dependents may still enroll in health care coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act ACA. Visit your state healthcare exchange to enroll in programs.
SAVI is here to help counsel Veterans as you make important choices regarding the future of your healthcare. Visit https://savivets.org/veterans-transition-assistance to learn about coaching services for creating your best post-service life.
Have a question about your Veteran benefits? You can email us today! If you are within one-year pre to post-military separation, you can enroll in our FREE program by setting up a call with one of our transition coaches.