Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) introduced the CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act, legislation which would allow children of disabled veterans to remain eligible for VA health care 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. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“The CHAMPVA Program expands critical benefits for dependents and survivors of disabled veterans. However, under current law, many children are no longer considered dependents under this program after the age of 18,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “It is unacceptable that the children of those who sacrificed the most for our country do not have the same health care protections provided to other families under the Affordable Care Act. That is why my legislation strives to ensure that the dependents and survivors of American heroes are able to stay on their health insurance for an additional three to eight years. This is a simple matter of fairness that must be corrected.”
“When Americans sign up to serve our country, their loved ones serve and sacrifice alongside them 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. Our veterans should be able to keep their children on their health care, just like families with private insurance.”
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) provides comprehensive health care 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.
Read the full text of the bill, here.