Lawmakers want to give kids of disabled vets more health care coverage

Matt Saintsing
April 04, 2019 - 3:58 pm

U.S. Army photo by Maria Yager.

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Children of disabled veterans would remain eligible for VA healthcare until they are 26 years old if a new bipartisan bill becomes law. 

26 isn’t an arbitrary age. According to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep Julia Brownley (D-Claif.)—who introduced the The CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act in the Senate and House respectively—that’s the same age for which they are required to have coverage required under the Affordable Care Act. 

Nine other Democratic Senators are listed as co-sponsors. 

“When men and women in uniform serve our country, their loved ones serve as well,” said Brown. 

“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.”

“They should be able to keep their healthcare, just as children whose parents have private insurance can today,” he added. 

Dependents of permanently and totally disabled veterans can receive healthcare through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). The benefit is also extended to survivors of veterans who died as a result of their disability and survivors of those veterans who had that same disability rating at the time of their death. 

Under current rules, children of veterans lose their eligibility for CHAMPVA when they turn 18 if they are not a student, or when they turn 23. 

Brownley called the legislation a “moral imperative.” 

“One of the most popular and widely known benefits of the Affordable Care Act is allowing kids to stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 26, and it is absolutely unacceptable that children of those who have sacrificed the most for our country do not have the same protections afforded to other families,” she said. 

The bill is already supported by Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), and The Military Coalition (TMC). 

Together, the organization represent 5.5 million service members, veterans, and family members. 

“Many of our members’ dependents benefit from this health care program, and we object to its current inequitable treatment within the health care system,” said Heather Ansley, associate executive director of government relations at PVA. 

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act required private-sector health coverage to allow children to stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26. But that benefit wasn’t expanded to include military or veteran health insurance. 

This bill would close that gap. 

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