There is no question that experiencing war, violence, and trauma can leave a person with serious mental health repercussions. Thousands and thousands of brave men and women who risk their lives for our country come back with PTSD, depression, and other serious mental diseases that can significantly weaken quality of life.
In most cases, because these brave men and women have spent so much time fighting for our country instead of working a traditional job, they don’t have the money to pay for mental health services outright. Veterans can get free or cheap health care at VA centers and through Medicaid and Medicare as well as through the same individual health care plans that non-servicemembers can apply for. It all depends on need and preference.
A VA (Veteran’s Affairs) office can provide health care to veterans at a low cost and then send a bill to the veteran’s health care plan. There are over 300 Vet Centers in the U.S., and rural areas have access to MVCs (Mobile Vet Centers) which travel all over the country. Veterans do not have to apply to visit a Vet Center, you just have to be eligible. You can find a location here.
The VA covers in-house care (inpatient and outpatient), community outpatient services, and Vet Center support for conditions like PTSD, depression, readjustment, substance abuse, and more.
Tricare is a health care program designed specifically for servicemembers. Veterans with Tricare will need to get a referral and authorization before accessing mental health services. Those who have Tricare For Life do not need referrals and authorization because Medicare will cover their mental health services.
Most Tricare beneficiaries will either have no deductible or a very small deductible for mental health services. The costs are significantly lower than for individual health plans.
Medicaid is specifically for low-income individuals and families. Low-income veterans will qualify for Medicaid and will not have to pay any copays for VA services and care.
Different from Medicaid, the VA cannot bill Medicare directly – but it can bill Medicare Supplemental insurance. That means veterans who have Medicare coverage may need to pay for their VA services. It depends on plan specifics!
If you are or a loved one is a veteran suffering from poor mental health, call us ASAP so we can help you get into the right plan with the right coverage.
If you are having a mental health emergency, such as wanting to hurt yourself or someone else, please call 911 immediately or call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.