Tester Introduces Bill to Extend Health Coverage for Children of Disabled Veterans

Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has introduced legislation to allow children of disabled veterans to remain eligible for VA-funded health care until they are 26 years old. 

Tester’s CHAMPVA Children’s Protection Act, S. 423, will specifically raise the maximum age for CHAMP eligibility to 26.

CHAMPVA, or the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, provides health insurance to dependents of permanently and totally disabled veterans as well as survivors of veterans who died as a result of a service-connected disability. Currently, children who are CHAMPVA beneficiaries lose their eligibility for coverage at age 23, if not sooner.

Tester’s bill brings the CHAMPVA coverage in line with private sector coverage.

“Families who have given everything for our country should not have to worry about their health care as they transition into the workforce,” said Tester. “This bill allows the young folks relying on CHAMPVA to finish school or start their careers without worrying about what happens if they get sick.”

“MOAA is extremely grateful to Senator Tester for once again championing the CHAMPVA Children’s Care Protection Act of 2017,” said Lt. Gen. Dan Atkins, President and CEO of the Military Officers Association of America. “This important legislation will provide a great deal of comfort and peace of mind to veterans families by giving their adult children eligible for CHAMPVA the same option to maintain their coverage until their 26th birthday as is currently provided by all other public sector and private insurance plans across the country—this is the right thing to do and MOAA looks forward to speedy passage of the legislation.”

“We thank Senator Tester for introducing this legislation and for working to equalize the benefits, rights and privileges of the adult children of both severely disabled veterans and those who gave their lives in service,” said Garry Augustine, Executive Director of DAV. “This provision would help to ease the burden of family members who—due to their parent’s service-connected impairments, disabilities or death—have no doubt already sacrificed a great deal in their young lives. We urge swift passage and implementation to ensure this inequity is corrected, so we can continue to keep the nation’s promises to its veterans, their families and survivors.”

“Dependent children of severely disabled veterans must be given the same opportunity as TRICARE and private health insurance beneficiaries to retain their health care coverage until age 26,” said Raymond Kelley, the National Legislative Director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “The VFW thanks Senator Tester for his leadership on this issue. It’s time Congress finally correct this inequity.”

Tester’s bill is also endorsed by the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

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