Bills Aim to Expand Health Care Program Offering Coverage to Children of Veterans

Bills Aim to Expand Health Care Program Offering Coverage to Children of Veterans
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While the COVID-19 public emergency is over, the country still faces pandemic-related fallout along with great economic uncertainty and fiscal pressures. Such uncertainty can be particularly concerning to young adults graduating from high school or college ... and adult children of disabled or fallen veterans certainly are no exception.


Fortunately, MOAA-backed legislation would expand an existing VA program and provide these young dependents with much-needed support as they begin their job search or continue their education.


[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Lawmakers to Support the CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act]


The Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), a fee-for-service health insurance program, provides reimbursement for medical care for eligible dependents and survivors of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled, or have died of a service-connected disability, or died on active duty and did not qualify for DoD’s TRICARE program. But unlike other young adults who can remain on their parents’ health insurance through age 26, CHAMPVA coverage stops at 18 (23 for full-time students, but coverage is lost if student status changes or if the beneficiary gets married).


MOAA is grateful to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) for reintroducing S. 1119 and H.R. 2414, the CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act, in the 118th Congress. This legislation would allow adult children to remain under CHAMPVA until age 26.


“When Americans sign up to serve our country, their loved ones serve and sacrifice alongside them as well,” said Brown in a joint press release. “That’s why it’s especially important for the children of veterans who depend on CHAMPVA to stay on their parents’ insurance while they go on to college or start their careers. Our veterans should be able to keep their children on their health care, just like families with private insurance.” 


Expanding CHAMPVA to eligible children has been a priority for MOAA, The Military Coalition, and other partner stakeholder groups since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010. To comply with the law, DoD established the TRICARE Young Adult Program in 2011. Similar coverage has yet to be extended to CHAMPVA beneficiaries.


[RELATED: VA Offers a Range of Services for Mothers and Moms-to-Be]


Like MOAA, Brownley sees it is time to right this inequity. “My legislation strives to ensure that the dependents and survivors of American heroes are able to stay on their health insurance for an additional three to eight years,” she said in the joint release. “This is a simple matter of fairness that must be corrected.”


Click here to join MOAA’s efforts to right this inequity. Send a letter to your lawmaker and let them know how important this legislation is and ask for their support.


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About the Author

Cmdr. René Campos, USN (Ret)
Cmdr. René Campos, USN (Ret)

Campos currently serves as MOAA's Senior Director of Government Relations, managing matters related to military and veterans’ health care, wounded, ill and injured, and caregiver policy.