VA proposes rule that would waive copays for eligible Native American and Alaska Native Veterans

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs proposed a rule that would waive copayments incurred on or after Jan. 5, 2022, for eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans. Upon publication of the notice, there will be a 30-day period for the public to provide comments on this rulemaking. VA will review the comments and develop the final rule.

If finalized as proposed, eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans who have submitted appropriate documentation to the VA would no longer be required to pay copays for health care services.

The intent of this policy is to encourage Veterans to seek regular primary care treatment, which can yield better health outcomes. Copayments for more than three visits to community-based urgent care in any calendar year would still be required, as for all Veterans. Follow-up care provided by a VA-authorized primary care provider would be exempt from copays.

In addition, VA is proposing to make this copayment exemption retroactive to Jan. 5, 2022. If finalized as proposed, eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans would be reimbursed for any copayments paid on or after Jan. 5, 2022, upon submission of their official documentation to the Veteran Health Administration. 

“American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans have played a vital role in the defense of the United States as members of the Armed Forces for more than 200 years,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “This rule makes health care more accessible and allows us to better deliver to these Veterans the care and health benefits that they have earned through their courageous service.”

This regulation implements a requirement in the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 Public Law 116-315, signed Jan. 5, 2021.

Learn about VA benefits and programs for American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans and information about VA’s recognition of Tribal Organizations for purposes of claim representation.

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