Date Created June 24, 2005
Introduction The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides cost-free health care services and nursing home care for
conditions possibly related to military service to veterans with combat service after November 11, 1998 for a period of 2
years beginning on the date of their separation from active military service.
Who’s eligible Veterans, including activated Reservists and National Guard members, are eligible if they served on
active duty in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Gulf War or in combat against a hostile force
during a period of "hostilities" after November 11, 1998 and have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
Public Law 105-368 [Title 38 USC 1710(d)(D)] authorizes VA to provide combat veterans cost-free care for conditions potentially
related to their combat service for up to two years following their discharge or release from active duty. These veterans
will be enrolled into Enrollment Priority Group 6 if not otherwise qualified for a higher enrollment priority group assignment.
VA provides full access to the Medical Benefits Package by virtue of this enrollment status. Also, veterans who enroll with
VA under this authority will retain enrollment eligibility even after their two-year post discharge period ends under current
For those veterans who do not enroll with VA during this post two-year discharge period, eligibility for enrollment and
subsequent care is based on other factors such as a compensable service connection rating, VA pension status, catastrophic
disability determination or the veteran’s financial circumstances.
What’s meant by "hostilities" "Hostilities" is defined as conflict in which Armed Forces members are subjected to
the danger comparable to that faced in a period of war. For purposes of establishing this special eligibility VA accepts service
documentation that reflects service in a combat theater, receipt of combat service medals and/or receipt of imminent danger
or hostile fire pay or tax benefits.
Co pays Veterans who qualify under this special eligibility are not subject to copay requirements for conditions potentially
related to their combat service. Unless otherwise exempted these veterans must either disclose their prior year household
income or decline to provide their financial information and agree to make applicable co-payments for care or services VA
determines are clearly unrelated to their military service. This disclosure may provide additional benefits such as eligibility
for travel reimbursement, cost-free medication and/or medical care for services unrelated to duty in the theater of combat
The VA health care provider is responsible for determining if treatment is possibly related to the combat veteran’s
military service. In making this determination, the health care provider must consider that the following types of conditions
are not ordinarily considered to be due to military service: (1) Congenital or developmental conditions, for example, scoliosis,
(2) Conditions which are known to have existed before military service, and (3) Conditions have a specific and well-established
cause and that began after military combat service.
Dental Care Eligibility for VA dental benefits is based on very specific guidelines and differs significantly from eligibility
requirements for medical care.
Combat veterans may be authorized dental treatment as reasonably necessary for the one-time correction of dental conditions
· They served on active duty and were discharged or released from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable
from a period of service not less than 90 days and
· The certificate of discharge or release does not bear a certification that the veteran was provided, within the 90-day
period immediately before the date of such discharge or release, a complete dental examination (including dental X-rays) and
all appropriate dental service and treatment indicated by the examination to be needed and
· Application for VA dental treatment is made within 90 days of discharge or release
To get additional information
Additional information is available at the nearest VA medical facility. The telephone number can be found in the local
telephone directory under the "U.S. Government" listings. Veterans can also call toll-free: 1-800-827-1000 or the Health Benefit
Service Center at 1-877-222-8387. Veterans may also visit the VA health benefits website: Health Eligibility Center