Health care for families of disabled vets needs to be updated, Schumer says

Health care for families of disabled vets needs to be updated, Schumer says

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Senate Democrats Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says there is a shortcoming in health insurance for disabled veterans that’s depriving their children of coverage.

Family members of disabled military service members are allowed to receive health coverage under a Veterans Administration program called CHAMPVA. But Schumer says that program needs to be amended to be in line with the rest of the health care world under the Affordable Care Act.

A provision of the health care overhaul is that children can stay on their parent’s plan until they’re 26 years old. But CHAMPVA boots kids off the plan when they turn 18, or finish college.

"So in this case, our veterans are actually treated less well than our average citizen. And that makes no sense," Schumer told reporters Wednesday.

About 13,000 veterans and their families are on the CHAMP health care plan in New York, according to the senator’s office.

A similar military insurance program, TRICARE, was updated to the 26-year-old child threshold.

"And that’s only fair to the children of our veterans who have suffered tremendous hardship," said Schumer.

The Democrat is supporting a bill to change the program to match the law for other health care providers. The change would cost about $42 million to keep the children of disabled vets insured until they’re 26. Schumer says it’s a small price.

"Even when these veterans programs are expensive, we support them because these people have risked their lives for us," he said.

Ryan Delaney/WRVO

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