Uniform Benefits Package

Veterans' Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996 is the legislation that paved the way for the creation of the standard enhanced health benefits plan generally available to all enrolled veterans. Eligibility - In October 1996, Congress passed Public Law 104-262, the Veterans' Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996. This legislation paved the way for the creation of a Uniform Benefits Package - a standard enhanced health benefits plan available to all enrolled veterans. The Law also simplified the process by which veterans can receive services.

Public Law 104-262 was enacted to simplify the rules for providing health care to veterans and to introduce improvements in the quality and timeliness of the care you receive. Like other standard health care plans, the Uniform Benefits Package emphasizes preventive and primary care, offering a full range of outpatient and inpatient services.

VA has also placed a priority on improved veterans satisfaction. Their goal is to ensure the quality of care and service you receive is consistently excellent, in every location, in every program.

Under the new Uniform Benefits Package, VA offers you, the veteran, a comprehensive health care plan that provides the care needed, when needed.

Eligibility Details - To be eligible for enrollment for healthcare, you must have:
~ Been discharged from active military service under honorable conditions.
~ Served a minimum of 2 years if discharged after September 7, 1980 (prior to this date there is no time limit.)
~ If a National Guardsmen or Reservist, served the entire period for which you were called to active duty other than for training purposes only.

Coast Guard - Individuals who served in the Coast Guard are veterans and are eligible for VA health care benefits in the same manner as any other veteran who served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Air Force.

Merchant Marine - Merchant Marines who served on U.S. flagged merchant ships between December 7, 1941 and August 5, 1945, may be eligible for enrollment for VA health care benefits. See Appendix A for a Veteran Service Office for information.

Priority Groups
Once you apply for enrollment, your application eligibility will be verified. Based on your specific eligibility status, you will be assigned a priority group.

There are currently eight priority groups for veterans healthcare. Priority groups are subject to change by VA regulation. All health services may not be available in each area of service.

Help and information on enrollment may be obtained by visiting, calling or writing any VA location of care or any Veterans Service Office. See Appendix B and Appendix D.