A year has passed, and the COVID-19 and economic crises continue to bring tremendous financial uncertainty to far too many Americans, including veterans, their families, caregivers, and surviving family members stricken by the fallout of the pandemic.
MOAA has again joined forces with 43 other military and veterans service organizations and stakeholders to help one small but deserving cohort during these difficult times. The goal: to secure health care for children whose veteran parents are disabled or who have died from a service-connected disability.
The group recently sent a letter of support for the CHAMPVA Children’s Protection Act — legislation once again introduced by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). And you can help MOAA’s efforts by sending a similar letter to your lawmakers seeing their assistance.
Employer-sponsored health care plans have been required to cover adult beneficiaries’ children up to age 26 with no separate premium since 2010, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law. A year later, Congress established the TRICARE Young Adult Program to provide health care coverage for adult children of currently serving and retired servicemembers for a monthly premium that covers all program costs.
Unfortunately, adult children of veterans were not offered a similar option through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), as intended by the ACA. Instead, these young adults remain stuck with outdated CHAMPVA regulations, which provide health care coverage up to the age of 18 (or age 23 for beneficiaries enrolled as full-time students). Coverage ends for these young adults once they marry or are no longer enrolled as a full-time student.
“MOAA is extremely grateful for Rep. Brownley’s and Sen. Brown’s dedicated commitment on this issue by continuing to champion H.R. 1801 and S. 727, the CHAMPVA Children’s Protection Act,” said MOAA’s President and CEO, Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret). “Our collective veteran and military community partners remain determined to do all we can to assure veteran parents are given the same opportunity to provide life-saving health care to their children. It is time to close this age parity gap and provide CHAMPVA-eligible young adult children health care coverage once and for all — we cannot let this moment pass, we must seize the urgency of these unprecedented times to eliminate this unacceptable inequity.”
It is important for our children to have hope for a brighter future, including the children of veterans who have spent much of their life in crisis — caring for a disabled veteran parent or suffering with the loss of a parent who died of a service-connected condition.
While there is hope on the horizon thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and improving job market numbers, the pandemic already has hit children and young adults across our country especially hard. Many are graduating from high school and planning to attend college only to find they must put their education goals on hold because of health and economic uncertainties. Others are seeking employment in a very challenging job market, or experience job loss.
It is time to close the age parity gap for this vulnerable population of young adults and provide much-needed peace of mind to so many of our members and other veteran parents who have been seeking relief through this legislation for years. MOAA urges our members, veteran and military advocates, and those interested in the health and well-being of our veterans and their families, to lend their voice and engage with us to secure this important legislation.
Expanding CHAMPVA coverage has been a top priority for MOAA, The Military Coalition, and other veteran groups for much of the last decade. It is now time to finish the job and get the legislation signed into law, so these children can remain under the program until age 26 and get a meaningful assist on their path to a brighter future.
Click here to join forces with MOAA — send a letter to your members of Congress and request they pass the CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act and enact it into law this year.