On Tuesday, April 4, 2023, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adopted a final rule to exempt American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) veterans from copayment requirements for some health care received at VA facilities. The final rule will reimburse eligible AI/AN veterans for copayments made from January 1, 2022 through April 3, 2023. Exempting Indian veterans from paying copays for VA health services is important to address inequities in health care access, create parity across federal sources of health care, and live up to the federal trust responsibility. Beginning April 4, AI/AN Veterans can submit documentation to qualify for the copayment exemption. Eligible Veterans include any Veteran who meets the definitions of “Indian” or “urban Indian” under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act – including Veterans who are members of an American Indian Tribe, certain Veterans who are descendants of Tribe members, Alaska Native Veterans, and more.
Services Included in the Exemption:
The final rule will exempt AI/AN veteran copayment requirements for most hospital care and medical services, including all urgent care visits. In our submitted comments, NIHB emphasized the importance of including copayment exemptions for all urgent care visits.
Next Steps for Eligible Veterans: The VA will begin identifying eligible AI/AN veterans and start outreach and education efforts about the benefit. As NIHB staff learn more about this process, we will continue to keep you informed on developments.
Last modified: April 21, 2023