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Veterans Health Coverage

The VA Drug Benefit

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The VA Health Plan can be a good source of medications for eligible veterans. Getting drugs through the VA involves registering with the agency and being seen by a VA doctor. The VA will not fill prescriptions that were issued by a private physician - only those prescribed by VA physicians are covered.

Like most insurers, the VA uses only certain brand-name medications to help hold down costs.

The VA won't automatically provide prescriptions for the same medicines a private doctor has prescribed. The choice is up to the VA doctor.

Unlike most insurers, the VA provides coverage for over-the-counter medicines. It also offers refills through the VA mail order system.
However, there are some downsides to the VA benefit.

  • There is no drug coverage for spouses and dependents.
  • The co-payment can be significantly more than an HMO charges.
  • Many seniors use the VA to complement their Medicare coverage. Because of this, each patient might be under the care of two doctors. If care is not coordinated, patients could end up taking too many drugs or ones that don't mix well. 

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