If you are a veteran receiving health care benefits through the Veterans Health Administration, does the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affect you?

The answer is no. There is nothing for you to be concerned about because you are already getting health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) The new law does not change your benefits, it in no way affects the level of VA health care you are entitled to, and it does not require you to get more coverage, though you do have the option of buying additional private health insurance.

Uninsured Veterans Must Take Action

However, if you are one of the 1.3 million veterans without health insurance, the ACA does affect you because the health care law requires that you meet the “minimum essential coverage” standard. This means that you must have some level of health insurance coverage by January 1, 2014.

Easy to Get VA Health Care

The good news is that you don’t have to buy a health insurance plan from an insurance carrier to meet the ACA’s coverage requirement.  If you are a veteran “who served in the active military service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable,” than you are eligible for VA health care.

When to Apply for VA Health Care

You can enroll in VA health care at any time. However, if you aren’t covered by some health insurance plan, depending on your level of income, you may have to pay a penalty.

VA Wants Veterans to Sign Up

Why take that risk? VA Secretary Eric Shinseki encourages uninsured veterans “to take advantage of the world-class care we provide to the men and women who have served this nation in uniform.” There is no fee for enrollment and no monthly premiums or deductibles for VA health care.  It makes sense to do it, and to do it now.

For uninsured veterans, the Affordable Care Act provides, at the very least, the push to get the VA health care and services they are entitled to, and provides incentive for veterans who may already have health conditions that could be identified as connected to their military service to get help. Not only are they entitled to health care from the VA; they may also qualify for VA disability benefits.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, as more uninsured Americans enroll in health care plans, the rising cost of health care and the system for providing quality health care services is expected to improve.

If you have questions about the ACA, call the VA at 877-222-8387 or check out the VA’s Web site The Affordable Care Act, VA and You at www.va.gov/health/aca for easy access to information about the health care law, how to enroll in VA health care, and how to get health care coverage for family members.

To apply for VA disability compensation, contact Alpha Veterans Disability for a free case review.