Last week, the VA announced that the healthcare enrollment application period for nearly 545,000 living veterans who have incomplete applications has been extended for one year. This change comes as a result of a recently conducted analysis of all pending applications in the VA enrollment system. The VA will review each of these incomplete applications to determine whether any of them should have been enrolled in VA healthcare.
Required by law to notify veterans of incomplete applications, the VA will be contacting these veterans to see if they still want to enroll in VA healthcare and, if so, request the information needed to complete the application. Veterans will have one year from the date of notification to submit the missing information. If this information is not received by the VA in that time, the file will be closed. However, veterans may reapply at any time.
If you have an incomplete application, it is always a good idea to submit it. The VA covers all medical treatment and costs for all service-connected conditions, and letting this pending application expire could cause you to lose some benefits. While you can apply for VA healthcare at any time, the benefits from that healthcare are applicable only from the date the application began. So filing a brand new application will cause you to lose the benefits from the time you started the first one. You’ll still get the same benefits, but their effective date will be later.
And although the VA healthcare system has had many problems in the past (and still does), the VA has been working hard to improve it. Last summer, the VA launched “Welcome to VA” (W2VA). W2VA was set up to make the enrollment process easier. Veterans enrolled since July 1, 2015, have received personalized handbooks and introductory letters by mail as well personal phone calls offering assistance with health care questions as well as assistance with initial appointments at the VA facility of the veteran’s choice.