What Veterans Need to Know About Medicaid

This information is current as of May 2, 2022.

Having served our country, getting back into civilian life after leaving the military may be challenging. This blog hopefully helps make navigating health insurance a bit easier. 

What Veterans Need to Know About Medicaid
What veterans need to know about Medicaid

In this article, we’re breaking down what veterans need to know about Medicaid. Find out what it covers, how to apply, and alternative health insurance options for vets.  

Let’s get into it!

What Is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a government program that provides health coverage for millions of people in the United States. The program is jointly funded by the 50 states and the federal government. It covers a broad range of health services and limits out-of-pocket costs for participants. 

Many states even cover optional health care services, such as dental care, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, and physical therapy through Medicaid. It also provides significant payments for nursing homes, physicians, hospitals, community health centers, and jobs in the health care sector.

Veterans and civilians alike can take advantage of Medicaid if they meet the income requirements. 

Who Can Enroll in Medicaid?

Medicaid is for eligible low-income adults, elderly adults, pregnant women, children, people with disabilities, and veterans. The program helps 1 in 5 Americans, including people with expensive and complex needs for care.

How to Sign Up for Medicaid as a Veteran

If you are interested in signing up for Medicaid, you would first need to fill out an application online through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you meet the household size and income requirements, you qualify for free or low-cost coverage with Medicaid. There is no limited enrollment period, so you can apply and qualify at any time of the year.

1.    Research Medicaid Plans

Before you begin your application, you can see what the health insurance plans on Marketplace cover here. This includes treatment for pre-existing medical conditions, ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, mental health, prescription drugs, laboratory services, chronic disease management, and other necessary health benefits. You can also see all health plans offered and get an estimate on prices on this page.

2.    Create a Marketplace Account

Once you have finished your research, it is time to make a Marketplace account. You’ll enter basic information such as your name, address, and email address. Click here to create your Marketplace account. This website will prompt you to pick your state from a drop-down menu, then fill in your basic information.

Some states run their marketplace. If you do not see your state in the drop-down menu, you might find it here.

You will be asked to create a username and password, then create and answer security questions. It’s a good idea to write this information down and keep it somewhere safe. Next, click “Create Account.” You will then be asked to verify your identity by answering questions based on information from your credit report.

3.    Prepare Your Information

Once your Marketplace account is created, you can gather everything you need to apply. The application will ask you for basic information like your:

  • Name
  • Birthdate
  • Mailing address
  • Social Security Number
  • Immigration document information, if applicable

You will also need to provide information about your household members, even if they’re not applying for coverage. This could include information about your spouse or children.  

Next, you will also need to provide employer and income information such as wages from a W-2 form, unemployment compensation, retirement income, social security payments, etc., and your best estimate of your household income.

If you have current health coverage, you will need to report that information. To be fully prepared for your application, get the entire checklist here.

If the process gets confusing, you can also find local help on this page. Once you enter your city, state, and zip code, you’ll find an agent, broker, or assister near you who can talk to you in person, over the phone, or by email and help you out.

4.    Apply for Medicaid

Once all your information is ready, the application process will be quick and easy. First, log in to your Marketplace account and click “Apply.” Once you have filled out the application and submitted it, you will see eligibility results. If you are eligible for Medicaid, your state will notify you about enrollment and the next steps through email, mail, or phone.

Other Insurance Options for Veterans

Veterans have other insurance options besides Medicaid, such as VA Health Care, the Civilian Health and Medical Program, and Tricare.            

VA Health Care

Veterans are covered through VA Health Care for regular checkups with primary care providers and appointments with specialists such as mental health providers, gynecologists, and cardiologists. You also have access to home health, senior care, prescriptions, prosthetics, and medical equipment.

To be eligible for VA Health Care, you must have:

  • Not have received an honorable discharge as an active military servicemember or part of the naval or air service
  • Signed up for the military after Sept. 7, 1980
  • Became an active-duty servicemember after Oct. 16, 1981, and have completed the entire active-duty term or 24 continuous months
  • Served before Sept. 7, 1980, and were either discharged on disability (caused by active-duty participation or made worse by it) or were discharged due to a hardship. Therefore, the minimum duty requirement may not apply.

To apply, click here. In addition, you will need your social security number, military discharge information, and insurance cards of any current coverage. If you need help with your application, you can call toll-free at 877-222-8387 or click here to find your state’s VA office.

The Civilian Health and Medical Program

The Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) helps veterans with their health care costs by covering health insurance services with additional beneficiaries added on.

This program covers most health care services and psychological and medically necessary supplies, including preventive services like breast cancer screening, routine chest X-rays, and cancer screening.

To be eligible for this program:

  • You must be enrolled in Medicare Part B, outpatient insurance that may require you to pay an annual fee based on your yearly income.
  • Medicare would be your primary insurance, and CHAMPVA would help with any remaining medical bills.

There would be one exception: if you were 65 or older before Jun. 5, 2001, you are eligible for CHAMPVA with only Medicare Part A, premium-free hospital insurance. To apply, click here.


TRICARE is a regionally managed health care program for active duty and retired members of the uniformed services and their families. This program combines resources from the Military Health System, such as military clinics and hospitals, with civilian healthcare professionals, suppliers, pharmacies, and institutions.

It covers primary care, preventive care, hospital care and surgery, urgent and emergency care, mental health and substance abuse, medical equipment and supplies, tests, x-rays, and specialty care. Click here to use their keyword search or category drop-down menu to see a comprehensive coverage list.      

Uniformed service member and their family, national guard/reserve member and their family, survivors, former spouses, medal of honor recipient and their families, or registered individuals with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) are eligible for TRICARE. Your benefits and plans will vary depending on your category. Click here to find out more.

In Summary

Medicaid covers over 75 million low-income Americans, including many active and retired veterans and their families. In addition, 1 in every 5 people living in the United States receives health insurance through Medicaid.

Veterans and their families can receive the best health care the United States offers, including primary, preventive, and specialty care and diagnostic, outpatient, and inpatient care services. Some packages even include dental, eye care, and comprehensive mental health services such as post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, mental illness, and substance abuse disorders.

Veterans also have other health insurance options tailored to their needs, such as VA Health Care, The Civilian Health and Medical Program, and Tricare. These programs offer full health benefits that help you and your family afford the care you need. Start an online application today to get the right health coverage for you and your loved ones.      

Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service

When you qualify for government benefit programs like Medicaid, you may also be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Both Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs that help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.

Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.

Get a Tablet for $10.01

If you qualify, you can get an 8″ tablet for just $10.01. Apply here to get started!

Save Even More With Recommended Resources and Amazon Deals

Looking to save on additional items? You may want to check out our Recommended Resources page. For example, you can learn how to save 50% on Amazon Prime membership and use your EBT card.