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WASHINGTON, DC — In Case You Missed It, yesterday during a hearing in the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on pending legislation, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) highlighted how expanded health care coverage for CHAMPVA recipients will help continue recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Brown recently reintroduced the bicameral CHAMPVA Children’s Protection Act 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.

“Now is the time to right the wrong and correct this oversight from 10 years ago,” said Brown in the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “We made the change for TRI-CARE, we should do the same for CHAMPVA, which is what my CHAMPVA Children’s Care Act of 2021 would do.”

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. 

This legislation is supported by a number of Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) and Military Service Organizations (MSO), including the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA), and Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).

More from Brown’s hearing exchange is included below and video is available HERE:

Sen. Brown: We’ve worked for years to strengthen veterans’ healthcare, both in the VA and in the community. Young adults, as you know, age out of CHAMPVA coverage at 18, if they’re a student they age out at 23. Understanding that under the ACA, people age out at 26 for private-sector healthcare insurance plans. We’re recovering from the worst pandemic in a hundred years. Now is the time to right the wrong and correct this oversight from 10 years ago. We made the change for TRICARE, we should do the same for CHAMPVA, which is what my CHAMPVA Children’s Care Act of 2021 would do. No parent or child should face the additional mental burden of worrying about their healthcare coverage. Dr. Upton, from watching your head nod, I assume you agree that CHAMPVA beneficiaries should have parity with TRICARE beneficiaries.

Dr. Upton: Senator, I know we have many bills on the docket today. This is an area that I directly oversee and concur. I will just say very briefly that the CHAMPVA program, the children that you’re speaking of, are children of servicemembers who are either severely disabled form war or who lost their parents, and the deserve to be treated equitably, similarly to the other health plans that are out there. So we are very supportive of this bill and making that change, and appreciate you raising that to the floor.