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.
These are difficult times for everyone, but for one part of the military community, the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic make things especially daunting.
Those in this small yet deserving group of individuals have endured decades of challenges as children of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled, died of a service-connected disability, or died on active duty and did not qualify for DoD’s TRICARE program. They need a long-sought change to their health care benefit now more than ever, and work is underway to make it happen.
MOAA has joined with 33 other veteran and military service organizations in sending a letter asking lawmakers to act immediately and cover these children who do not have the health care coverage afforded to most Americans through private or federal health care programs.
“While the world is managing their new normal in these unprecedented times, MOAA is advocating strongly on behalf of veterans doing all we can to provide much-needed benefits and resources to help them and their families,” said MOAA’s President and CEO, Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret). “Given the immensity and uncertainty brought about by this crisis, we urge Congress to pass the CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act and include it in the next supplemental appropriations package so we can protect this vulnerable population by giving them the same health care coverage available to all Americans today.”
Can you image how hard it must be as a veteran parent, or surviving spouse of a veteran, to find out your son or daughter may lose health insurance during this pandemic — insurance your family had been counting on?
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as CHAMPVA, is a fee-for-service program managed by VA that provides reimbursement for medical care to a selected group of eligible dependents and survivors.
Under current law, these children lose their eligibility for health care in the program at age 18, or age 23 if they are enrolled as a full-time student. They also lose coverage if they lose full-time student status or get married.
The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the U.S. at a time of year when children are graduating from high school. Many are planning to attend college, or return to college in the fall. Others are seeking employment in a challenging job market.
Through no fault of their own, many may be unable to enroll in or continue their college program. Many others are among the millions who have lost their jobs or are unable to secure employment to pay for their education, or to purchase health insurance once they are no longer eligible for CHAMPVA.
Expanding CHAMPVA coverage has been a top priority for MOAA, The Military Coalition, and other veterans groups for almost a decade. These groups have long advocated for these children to remain under the program until age 26.
Last year, MOAA wrote about about two lawmakers, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) introducing S. 1034 and H.R. 2094, both versions of the CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act.
MOAA – alongside other veteran and military service organizations combining to represent millions of members – is grateful for the work of the Senate and House Veteran’s Affairs Committees and their colleagues to aid veterans and their families during this crisis. Now, we need their help to ensure needed health care is still obtainable and sustainable for veteran’s families whose lives have been seriously disrupted.
Share Your Story
MOAA appreciates those of you who’ve shared your COVID-19 feedback. If you encounter problems related to COVID-19, please let us know using our reporting tool or tell us about your issue at email@example.com.
Get more COVID-19 resources, including the latest news and links to official guidance, here.
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