Note from MOAA: Have you been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, or the response? Share your story to help MOAA understand the needs of the uniformed services community.
The fallout from the pandemic continues to be felt across America, but nothing compared to the heartbreak and fear for those individuals or loved ones we know who have been touched by COVID-19.
For millions of people, the health and economic consequences of the virus have been real and unprecedented. However, there is still a small vulnerable group of people in need of support: adult children of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled, have died of a service-connected disability, or died on active duty and did not qualify for DoD’s TRICARE program. At a time when medical insurance is most critical, this group of beneficiaries is at risk of losing their health care coverage under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, commonly known as CHAMPVA.
For these adult children, this should be an exciting time as they look forward to their first year of college, returning to school, or seeking employment in the coming weeks, but instead they face prospects of high unemployment rates and no health care as scary possibilities for their future.
[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Legislators to Support S. 1034 and H.R. 2094]
Last week, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) joined MOAA and a number of other veteran and military service organizations urging lawmakers to act immediately and cover these children who do not have the health care coverage afforded to most Americans. The 49 organizations are asking Congress to pass the CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act and get it included in future COVID-19 relief legislation.
Once again MOAA members and other stakeholder groups are leading the fight in the 116th Congress by supporting two companion measures aimed at aligning the CHAMPVA program with other federal and private-sector health plans: S. 1034, introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and H.R. 2094 from Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.).
CHAMPVA is a fee-for-service health insurance program that provides reimbursement for medical care for a certain group of eligible dependents and survivors. It is administered by the VA.
The law as written makes these children ineligible for CHAMPVA at age 18, or age 23 if they are enrolled as a full-time student. The same holds true if they lose full-time student status or get married.
In 2010, when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law, private-sector health plans were required to allow adult children to stay on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26. At that time this coverage was not extended to TRICARE or CHAMPVA. It wasn’t until the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law that the coverage was extended to military children under the TRICARE program — leaving children under CHAMPVA the only group not given the same opportunity for health care coverage under their parents’ plan up to age 26.
Today’s crisis makes these children more vulnerable and in need of fundamental health care coverage. MOAA and other partner organizations have made CHAMPVA expansion a top priority for almost a decade. Now is the time to help MOAA and other stakeholder groups secure this legislation once and for all.
“We can’t let this critical time pass without doing all we can,” said MOAA’s President and CEO, Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret). “These children are facing immense uncertainty during this crisis. It is for this reason we urge Congress to pass the CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act and include it in the next supplemental appropriations package. It is time to right this inequity.”
Click here to join MOAA’s efforts. Send a letter to your members of Congress and ask them to pass the CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act and get it included in the next supplemental appropriations package.