WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) introduced legislation to allow children of disabled veterans to remain eligible for VA healthcare until they are 26 years old – the same coverage required under the Affordable Care Act for private-sector insurance plans, as well as the military’s TRICARE program. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) are co-sponsoring the Senate legislation.
“When men and women in uniform serve our country, their loved ones serve as well,” said Senator 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.”
“This is a moral imperative,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “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.”
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) provides comprehensive healthcare benefits for dependents of permanently and totally disabled veterans, survivors of veterans who died as a result of a service-connected disability, survivors of veterans who at the time of death were permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability, and survivors of service members who died in the line of duty. Currently, a child of a veteran loses eligibility for CHAMPVA at age 18 if they are not a student or at age 23 otherwise.
When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, it required private-sector health plans to allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old, but this coverage was not extended to military or veteran health coverage. This discrepancy was addressed for TRICARE in 2011. The CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act would fix this for VA’s CHAMPVA program.
Senator Brown serves on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the Senate, and Congresswoman Brownley is Chairwoman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee.
This legislation is 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), a consortium of uniformed services and veterans associations representing 5.5 million current and former service members, their families, and survivors.
“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, Government Relations, PVA.
“MOAA members and veterans are deeply passionate about this issue and ensuring all children of veterans receive the same health care coverage as other Americans, whether those veterans have been rated permanently and totally disabled, have died from service-connected disabilities or in the line of duty, or were totally disabled from a service-connected disease at the time of death,” said Lt Gen Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), President and CEO, MOAA.