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Health insurance After the Military

Up until now, the military covered all of your medical needs. Before you re-enter civilian life, make sure you understand your VA health benefits so you can readily adopt a new health care plan for you and your loved ones. If you are looking for a specific VA health care provider, or need help navigating your VA healthcare eligibility, one of our Zero8Hundred Peer Navigator can assist you.

Veteran Health Care Bill

In 2014, U.S. Congress passed the ‘Veteran Access to Care Act’ with the goal of making healthcare more accessible to veterans. This means if you are a transitioning service member in need of immediate medical attention, you may visit a provider outside of the VA health system as long as coverage does not exceed 60 days for any given medical issue. Other advantages of the Veteran Access to Care Act include:

Freedom to use non-VA provider if living 30+ miles from nearest VA facility

Ability to bypass long waitlists for urgent procedures

Are All Veterans Eligible For VA Benefits?

Your VA Healthcare Eligibility is based on a number of factors, namely your Priority Group which is designated when you apply for VA medical benefits. If you are eligible for VA benefits but are already insured, please note you cannot claim medical expenses under both providers. Eligibility is usually granted under many circumstances:​

Sustaining a service-connected disability

Discharged due to worsening pre-existing medical condition

Recently discharged combat veteran

Medal Of Honor or Purple Heart recipient

How to Apply For VA Medical Benefits

You can apply online for VA medical benefits with The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The application process takes about 30 minutes, while approval can take up to one week. Here’s what to expect as you apply for coverage:​​

Step one: Prepare all necessary documents

To qualify for VA medical benefits, you must provide proof of documentation:

  • Your SSN

  • Copy of DD214 Discharge Status

  • Financial Information

  • Latest Tax Return

  • Account Numbers for Other Active Insurers

Step two: receive Priority designation

Your case will be assessed on a scale of 1-8 so the VA can prioritize the underprivileged with imminent health care needs. Low-income veterans with lifelong service-connected disabilities are assigned the highest priority (1-3). There is no income limit for VA Health Care; however you may be placed in lower priority sequence (6-8) depending on your income level. Priority groups are determined based on the following criteria:

  • Disability(s)

  • Military Track Record

  • Medicaid Eligibility

  • Income Bracket

Step three: Await your decision

Once you submit your documents and application, the VA will notify you of approval in a week or less (depending on your priority group). If you successfully enroll in VA Health Care, you will be contacted by phone to schedule a photoshoot for your Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC).

Can You Lose Your VA Medical Benefits?

Yes, it is possible to lose your VA medical benefits, particularly if you file a fraudulent disability claim. Committing treason or other felonies that warrant incarceration for 60 days or longer can also disqualify you from receiving VA benefits. Despite these circumstances, however, spouses and dependents may still be eligible for medical coverage.

When Does TRICARE Coverage End After Separation?

TRICARE is a free health insurance plan offered to active-duty service members and dependents in all branches of the military. If you are preparing to separate from the military, please note that TRICARE will only cover your transitional period for up to 180 days post-discharge. 


Transitioning service members have myriad healthcare options available to them once they separate from the military. Zero8Hundred can connect you with the right medical provider according to your personal health requirements.

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