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Changes To Co-Pay Requirements For Veterans Seeking Mental Health Care


Mental health is something that many veterans struggle with. After serving their country, they must often deal with the effects of war, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and even post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It can be hard for veterans to get the mental health care they need due to barriers such as cost. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced changes to co-pay requirements that could help veterans. Through 2027, veterans will not need to pay copays for their first three outpatient mental health care and substance use visits. This copayment exemption dates back from June 27, 2023, and by law will end Dec. 29, 2027. The benefit will provide veterans with better access to mental health services and lower out-of-pocket expenses.

For veterans to be eligible for this copayment exemption, the outpatient visit must be with a qualified mental health professional at VA or have been provided through VA’s network of community care providers. If eligible, the VA will automatically refund veterans for any copays paid to VA on or after June 27, 2023, for these appointments. No action is required by veterans.

“We want every veteran, regardless of their financial status, to have access to the mental health care they deserve — and that’s what this copayment exemption is all about,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “We are constantly working to expand access to mental health care, and we won’t rest until every veteran has access to care whenever and wherever they need it.”

VA also released a new suicide prevention policy in 2023 that allows eligible veterans and certain former servicemembers in acute suicidal crisis to go to any VA or non-VA emergency facility for no-cost emergency healthcare. More than 60,000 veterans and former servicemembers have benefited from this lifesaving care. Additionally, because eligible veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA system or go to a VA to use this benefit, nine million veterans have had access to emergent suicide care at no cost.

The co-pay exemption is part of the The Joseph Maxwell Cleland and Robert Joseph Dole Memorial Veterans Benefits and Health Care Improvement Act of 2022, which is also known as the Cleland-Dole Act. The act was signed into law in December 2022 and addresses homelessness, long-term care, and telehealth for veterans.

The Cleland-Dole Act also plans to address prostate cancer research, rural health, substance use disorder, mental health, access to care, educational assistance, beneficiary travel, beneficiary debt collection, non-VA care, and the G.I. Bill. Under the act, the VA is required to work collaboratively with the Department of Labor to implement a plan with a finalization date of October 2029. The Cleland-Dole Act aligns with local, state, and national efforts to increase  access to physical and mental health care and help prevent homelessness among veterans.

Learn More About Veterans Benefits

Veterans are entitled to many benefits, but sometimes there are catches, such as expensive co-pays, that make healthcare cost prohibitive. It’s good that the co-pay will be waived for mental health treatment, as many veterans suffer in that regard.

A White Plains veterans disability benefits lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon  can ensure you get what you deserve in terms of healthcare and other benefits. We have decades of experience helping veterans like you. Schedule a consultation with our office today by filling out the online form or calling 914-294-2145.



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