In October, 1996, Congress passed Public Law 104-262, the Veteran's Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996. This legislation led the way for the creation of a Uniform Benefits Package - a standard health benefit plan available to all veterans. The package not only opens up services to veterans, but also simplifies the process by which veterans can receive the services.
Veterans must first be enrolled to receive care.
Veterans will be placed in priority groupings.
Once enrolled veterans will remain enrolled for one year. Yearly, veterans will be asked to update the enrollment information. Renewal is automatic, unless they chose not to enroll, or unless VA resources limit the number of veterans to whom the VA can provide.
Veterans should keep their existing healthcare coverage.
Enrollment means veterans are eligible for a comprehensive healthcare benefits package of inpatient and outpatient services. Among these services are the following:
Some medical services not normally covered by the Uniform Benefits Package include cosmetic surgery, sterilization, abortion, membership in health spas for rehabilitation, special private duty nursing and gender alteration.
Drug and medical devices not approved by the Food and Drug Administration are not covered, except under special circumstances.
The law has not changed the requirement for limited nursing home care, domiciliary care, limited dental care, adult health day care, homeless programs, sexual trauma counseling and non-VA hospitalization. Enrolled veterans may be eligible for these programs, but they are not part of the Uniform Benefits Package.
VA Priority Groups