Low-Cost Health Care
- The VA Health Care system prides itself on making healthcare for veterans with prostate cancer as affordable as possible.
- In many cases, there are no copays, or the fees are very small.
- Medicine costs no more than $11 per month and in some cases may not cost anything.
- Therefore, there is really no financial excuse to miss health appointments, especially when you have a serious condition like prostate cancer.
That means you don’t have a financial excuse to skip health appointments. It’s especially important that you stay up to date on whatever care your doctor thinks is necessary when you have a serious condition like prostate cancer.Read More
Fewer and lower copaysCopays are fees you pay when you visit your doctor or at the time of medical treatment. Effective January 1, 2024 or even before, the VA changed some of the rules for copay exemptions to make healthcare even more affordable than ever. Some veterans are now exempt from copays which means they don’t have to pay anything at all for their care. The VA determines who is exempt from copays based on four different factors:
- Veterans who get money from the VA because they were hurt or sick because of their military service
- Veterans who have a low income and a low disability rating
- Veterans who are former prisoners of war
- Eligible American Indian and Alaska Native veterans
“When you’re getting your care at the VA, amongst the many advantages is the cost of care,” says Dr. Matthew Rettig, the chief of hematology-oncology at the VA Medical Center in Greater Los Angeles. “Now the cost is limited and may actually be nothing…”
Even if your copays aren’t zero, they should be very small, according to Dr. Rettig. However, you may have to consider the expense of travel to and from appointments, he adds.
You can find more details about the 2024 VA copay rates and exemptions by contacting your nearest VA medical center.
Extensive coverage, lower cost
There are certain types of healthcare all veterans receive for free or at a lower cost. These include:
- Lab tests, X-Rays, preventative tests
- Immunizations and general health screenings.
- Mental health services.
- Electrocardiograms (EKGs or ECGs) to check for heart disease or other heart problems
- Tests like CT scans carry a $50 copay unless you have a service-connected disability rating of 10% or higher, or you request a hardship determination. This means that if you have a 20% disability rating due to a service-related injury, or if you are facing financial difficulties and apply for a hardship waiver, you will not have to pay anything for a CT scan. However, if you have a 0% disability rating and do not request a hardship determination, you will have to pay $50 for a CT scan.
Urgent care visits cost less too:
- Zero copay for the first three visits per calendar year.
- $30 for each additional visit within the calendar year, unless it’s a certain condition covered by a special authority, then those additional visits would also cost zero up until the 7th visit, which would be $30 without any special conditions offered.
Outpatient care — when you receive treatment outside of a hospital — will also cost less:
- There is no copay if you have a service-connected disability rate of 10% or higher.
- If you don’t have a service-connected disability rate of 10% or higher, the copay for seeing a primary care doctor costs $15, and $50 for a specialist, unless you have a service-connected disability rating of 10% or higher, or you are exempt for other reasons such as being a former prisoner of war or having a low income.
Cost of Medicine
The out-of-pocket cost for even very expensive medication used to treat prostate cancer will be, in most cases, very little for veterans.
“For example, the most that a veteran can pay for a medicine is $11 a month and many of the medicines that we use to treat prostate cancer can cost thousands and thousands of dollars per month,” Dr. Rettig explains.
And that’s $11 for brand name medications. Generic drugs, which are the equivalent of a brand name drug but made by a different company, are even more affordable. They will cost no more than $5 a month. If you have an exemption, you won’t have to pay anything for medications.
Requesting Financial Hardship
If you are struggling to pay for any of your healthcare bills, you can request a repayment plan, debt relief, or copay exemption. To request a VA hardship determination and copay exemption:
- Fill out this Request for Hardship Determination (VA Form 10-10HS)
- Write a letter explaining why you’re requesting hardship, describing your financial issues
- Submit your completed letter